I just received an email from a colleague who included some of our competitors in the copy count. His email contained some very sensitive information I shared with him and the other department heads in our organization with the caveat that it was for their ears and eyes only. I feel like I’ve been sabotaged. I know that some of my work relationships could be in jeopardy because of the outside people he sent the email to. I can’t help but think the worst of him. I’d like to strangle him but know that wouldn’t go over so well. I’m so angry that it’s hard for me to think clearly right now. What would be the best way for me to handle this?
Angry beyond words
Dear Angry beyond words:
I sympathize with you and understand your anger and negative thoughts towards your colleague. I do not recommend that you drop the matter. With your emotions intact, speak to him ASAP. Express your concerns in a clear and constructive way. Make him feel comfortable enough to explain why he included those people in the copy count. Regardless of what you determine to be the basis for his actions, calmly and firmly explain your disapproval and why it was inappropriate. Maintain a copy of his email for your records and document the discussion you have with him. Also, if your immediate supervisor is not already aware of the situation, make sure he/she has an accurate account of what transpired, especially since there is a chance for some negative fallout. And, of course, always be careful with what you share with this colleague in the future. Best of luck!
In addition to my paying job, I volunteer my time to an education initiative run by a local school system. I’ve never felt put upon because I’ve always believed in this initiative. I’m emailing you because I’m very upset with the woman from the school system who initially asked for my help. After having served as a volunteer for over five years, I left her a phone message and a follow-up email requesting information on how I may be able to do business with the school system and still continue my volunteer work. She never responded to either communication. Even if there was no business opportunity for me, it would have been nice to hear something from her. Regardless, I got over it and have continued to volunteer my time to the school’s initiative.
Two years have passed and this woman has a different employer. She recently emailed me, requesting I give some of my time for a project she’s working on. I don’t have the necessary experience or resources, but I was aware of where she might be able to obtain what she was looking for. I didn’t know if this firm would be willing or able to provide its services for free. Nevertheless, I emailed her with my apologies for not being able to be of service along with the information I had. Incredibly, this woman never responded. My gut tells me she didn’t respond because I didn’t give her what she wanted. It’s really hard for me to accept the way she’s treated me over the years. Any advice?
Upset with lack of responses
Dear Upset with lack of responses:
I wish I could say that your situation surprises me, but unfortunately, your experience is not unusual. Try not to become cynical. Do not let this one woman’s lack of decency affect your conduct in business or volunteerism. Always follow The Golden Rule. And continue your volunteer work, focusing on the joy and fulfillment it provides you. As John Wooden, college basketball’s most successful coach, once said so eloquently, “You cannot have a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
Hang in there!
© 2011 Rozanne R. Worrell