What's your problem?

Our managing director is having an affair with my boss, who has had it in for me ever since she heard me complaining to colleagues about her useless management skills and poor sense of humour (stupid, I realise).

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I recently applied for the position of IT assistant manager. I'm the only person experienced and qualified enough for the role. However, our MD has appointed someone much more junior than me. I'm sure this is because my boss had a word in his ear telling him not to appoint me. I can hardly bring this up with him, though, without admitting knowledge of their affair, and of looking like an amoral upstart with a severe case of sour grapes. Any ideas?

A: You'll probably find what follows a bit gutless but here goes, anyway.

You have a boss who has it in for you. She knows, because she's heard you say so, that you think her managerial skills are useless and that she has got a sense of humour deficiency. You're convinced (though you can't prove it) that she has already spiked your chances of one promotion.

And the only higher authority you could appeal to is your boss's bedmate.

So you have three options. First, do nothing, but seethe resentfully.

Second, adopt a high moral stance, take legal advice, confront your managing director, involve HR and mutter about tribunals. Third, make a mental decision to leave this seamy soap opera just as soon as you can find a job that will appreciate your experience and qualifications.

The first option will leave you bruised and bitter - and still with poor prospects. The second might make you feel good for a bit - but it will be horrible for you while it's all going on and there's no way you could actually 'win'. The third option, though an apparent surrender, is much the most grown-up. Make that decision - thoughtfully, slowly, with no internal fires burning - and your pride and prospects will greatly benefit.

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

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