Q: I work for a large outsourcing company. About five years ago I was told by the boss of the division I was in that I wasn't right for the job - which I strongly disagreed with. In fact, I think I was at the mercy of a vindictive manager who didn't recognise my potential and was jealous of my talent. I was transferred to another department, where I have excelled. But rumours have started flying around that I was sacked from my old role in pest control services and this has made me very, very upset. I went straight to my manager but he just told me to forget about it. I feel my reputation has been besmirched. What should I do?
A: If I may say so, you seem a little over-sensitive about how you're perceived by other people. You're very conscious of your own levels of excellence and find it very upsetting when you are in any way criticised or when inaccurate rumours circulate. I fear you may even resent this very mild observation - but I'm making it very much with your own interests at heart.
Stick with the facts and try to relax a little. Five years have now passed since you were transferred from that first department. You've since excelled - and presumably been appraised and commended and promoted. And, from a purely practical point of view, there's absolutely no way that you can disprove rumour.
So I'm inclined to agree with your manager: just do your best not to think about it. And if you wonder just why anyone should take pleasure in spreading false stories about you, ask yourself if it might be your manner that provokes them.