Life Advice



Newly Promoted Boss Feels The Cold Shoulder

Harriette Cole on

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got a promotion a couple of weeks ago, and now everyone is treating me differently. My co-workers hardly speak to me anymore. When they do speak to me, the energy is very tense and awkward. They treat me like I'm their boss and not their friend. This change of behavior at work is making me uncomfortable, to say the very least. What should I do? -- Promoted

DEAR PROMOTED: Congratulations on your promotion. You should know that when an employee is promoted and that person has been friends with co-workers, there is usually a period of readjustment. If you are now their boss, you have to figure out how you will work together moving forward. Things will not be exactly the same. If your role is in management, it means that you need to be clear about who you will be managing and what their job descriptions are so that you can set clear expectations with them. Do your research. Figure out exactly what your relationship should be with your co-workers. Talk to your boss for guidance.

Meet with each person individually and then with the team. Let them know that you want to have a positive working relationship with them, even as this transition is occurring. Let them know you continue to value them and care about them. Be clear about what your new role is and what it means in relation to them. Invite them to ask questions and offer their thoughts.

You will need to refresh your relationship with them. You can't be the buddy who commiserates with them about work if you did that before. Know your company's expectations of you so that you can stand in that role with grace and clarity.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Ever since I was little, I wanted my ears pierced. I was raised in a deeply religious household, and jewelry is frowned upon in my religion. Now that I'm 20 and no longer living with my family, I'm living by my own rules. I've gotten five different facial piercings in the last two years. I haven't seen my family since before COVID-19, and I'm nervous about their reactions to all my new piercings. Should I warn them before seeing them? -- New Piercings

DEAR NEW PIERCINGS: An unfortunate consequence of an extremely strict upbringing is that many young people rebel by doing the very thing that their parents wanted them to avoid. You know that your parents will be upset and disappointed. You will have to explain yourself, preferably with compassion. While you do not share your parents' views on piercings, they devoutly follow them. Don't be flippant with your decision to ignore them so overtly. Be prepared to explain why you made the choices that you did.


Yes, it would be thoughtful to give them a heads-up. Whichever parent you feel will listen best should be your point of contact. Call that person and say that you have gotten a few piercings since you have been on your own, and you just wanted to let them know. Assure them that your intention is not to be disrespectful of them. Instead, you have made choices based upon your beliefs, which do not always match theirs. Out of respect, you wanted to tell them in advance so it's not a surprise.


(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)






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