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.

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