Should I call out my work colleague for being mean to me?

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There’s a person in my company I can’t stand. Everyone else thinks he’s fun and personable, but he’s passive-aggressive to me and makes life difficult. I have no idea why or what I did wrong. Should I say something to him?

Editor, is that you? I thought we had a great relationship. I’m so sorry — you should have come to me directly! OK, as for your passive-aggressive colleague, why do you assume that you did something wrong? Maybe he’s jealous of you. Maybe he’s insecure. Maybe he doesn’t mean to come across the way he is. Or maybe he’s a jerk. The point is, it isn’t your problem to speculate.

If a colleague isn’t treating you well then you should say something. The question is timing and approach. You don’t want to be confrontational, and you don’t want to call someone out publicly. I would professionally, privately and unemotionally tell the person what they are doing to make you uncomfortable without putting them on the defensive. Be open to a reaction that is genuinely apologetic with a desire to make amends. Be prepared, however, for them to get defensive anyway. Your only goal is to have the person stop treating you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.

My boss has no respect for my personal time. She begrudges days off and thinks nothing of sending emails all weekend. How can I address this?

It’s difficult to set boundaries with the boss, but if you don’t, then there won’t be any. For some executives and roles there really is no such thing as “off the clock.” And some roles have certain periods where there’s no such thing as a normal workweek, such as accountants around tax time. If you aren’t talking about such a situation then you need to have a conversation with your boss about work-life balance. Make sure you explain that you will not compromise what work has to be completed and by when, but you do need to manage your time so that you can also be successful at home. You also need to clarify whether your boss is expecting a response from the emails through the weekend, or is that just when they catch up on email, and don’t expect a reply until Monday.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at

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