Q: I had my performance review last week. I was really happy with the feedback; I was told I'm a 'future leader' and was given a decent bonus. But the next day I found out that my lazy, good-for-nothing colleague was told the same thing and got the same bonus, which seems grossly unfair. Should I have a word with my boss?
A: Can you be certain that your lazy, good-for-nothing colleague got exactly the same feedback and bonus as you did? Who told you? If it was your colleague, you have every reason to doubt it. Lazy, good-for-nothing people are seldom trustworthy and are known to enjoy winding other people up - particularly people who pride themselves on being conscientious future leaders. The only other person who could have told you is the boss who was providing the feedback - and that seems highly improbable.
So if you complain to your boss about the gross injustice of it all, you'll be complaining to the person who may or may not have been responsible for the alleged gross injustice in the first place. And he is bound to deny that he ever gave your colleague such feedback, either because he didn't (which is almost certainly true) - in which case he'll find you guilty of baseless scuttlebutt; or because he did, but is damned if he's going to admit it to such an egregious creep as yourself.
Now that you've had a moment to reflect, don't you think you might be wiser just to get on with life and hope that, sooner rather than later, your lazy good-for-nothing colleague digs his own grave, leaving you to be the unchallenged future leader?
Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.