When Your Boss Plays Favorites

Nicole Williams
Posted: 10/07/2009

So your boss has a favorite employee...and it isn’t you. Talk about a tough workday. As an employee, you feel unappreciated, like your hard work goes unnoticed. Plus, you may have to spend part of the day watching your boss drool and coo over her favorite minion. Here’s how to cope.

Don’t compete. Trying to compete with the "Chosen One" is a losing battle. Not only are you unlikely to change your boss’ mind, you’ll drive yourself crazy when you work hard and don’t see immediate results.

Shine on. Even if you aren’t competing with the favorite, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard. In fact, you should try to work extra hard. The reason? By putting in the extra effort and taking pride in what you do, your confidence will be noticeable. It may also help you to realize that your recent work hasn’t quite been up to par, which could explain why your boss seems to be happier with another employee.

Don’t jump to conclusions. Before you get unnecessarily bent out of shape, it’s important to consider why your boss may seem to have a favorite. Maybe the two have been working together for far longer than you’ve been around. Maybe they have mutual friends or share similar outside interests. Before you get into a funk about their relationship, take the time to consider if there are explanations or reasons that add insight and help ease your anxiety about workplace favoritism.

Consider what it means for you. Does the fact that your boss has a favorite impact your job or is it just a major irritation? If you like your job, feel productive and generally receive good feedback, than pat yourself on the back for rising above a bad situation. But if the favoritism is out of hand and impacting your general happiness, work ethic, or relationship with your boss or co-workers, maybe you need to do something about it.

Know when to go. Yes, there’s something to be said for being the hardworking, positive-attitude-sporting underdog and toughing it out until you get your chance to strut yourself in front of your boss. Then (hopefully) you become the favorite. But if you’ve been around the office long enough to know that your boss is constantly playing favorites (and you’re never it), then maybe you should think about polishing the rêsumê and moving on to another job—one where you’ll be the star.

Nicole Williams
Posted: 10/07/2009

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