What's your problem?

I have just accepted a job in a soon-to-be-launched consultancy. I'm due to start next month, and have already resigned from my current job. However, I've just found out that I'll be working with an ex-colleague who has also been recruited as a founding partner.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I detested him when I worked with him before; he turned out to be a slacker who causes a negative atmosphere. I don't want to work with him again, but nor do I want to sour relations with my new employer by complaining about this man. What can I do?

A: Oh, wow. The only consolation I can offer you is this: the predicament you find yourself in is deeply tiresome but is unlikely to be tragic. And it's so fraught with problems that, through a process of elimination, your least-worse course of action becomes pretty apparent.

As you rightly say, you obviously can't rubbish this man to your new boss. If it came to a choice between him and you, you'd lose. You could try and turn back the clock, I suppose. That would mean breaking your contract and pleading with your former boss for your old job back.

At best, I rate that option Plan C. Plan B would mean looking for a new job altogether.

But Plan A has to be: give it a go. It's possible that the man you detested has mended his manners. As a founding partner, he'll have far more incentive to pull his weight. And he's clearly respected by the man who took you on, or he wouldn't have picked him as a founding partner.

Of course, if you told him straight out that you detested him, he's likely to have remembered. In which case, Plans C and B need re-examining.

- Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group; he is a non-executive director of WPP. Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

The questions to ask when everything is unknown

Systemic intelligence is an indispensable skill for business leaders.

How to stop your culture going back to normal after COVID

In this video, Capita's Melanie Christopher and Greene King non-exec board director Lynne Weedall discuss...

This isn't just a health crisis, it's an equality crisis

Inspiring Women in Business winners: In the “new normal”, we must make sure that female...

How to build an anti-racist business

You don't need a long history of championing equality to make a difference.

What are Simon Roberts’ big 3 challenges at Sainsbury’s?

The grocer's new CEO has taken the reins at a critical time.

Should CEOs get political?

The protests that have erupted over George Floyd’s murder have prompted a corporate chorus of...