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By Jim Berlucchi

I don’t get the good assignments because I’m not young and pretty

<p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Q. </strong></span>I feel as if one of my co-workers  gets all the “plum” assignments. I am pretty sure it’s because she is a very attractive young woman, and I am a mid-30s guy. I don’t think this is fair; how do I address it?</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>A.</strong></span> Let’s imagine a version of that conversation:</p>
<p style="margin-left: 40px;"><strong>You</strong>: “Boss, I don’t mean to complain, but it seems that Donna gets a lot of the better assignments around here and I’m wondering …”<br /><br />
<strong>Boss</strong>: “You’re wondering what? Are you suggesting that I’m being partial to Donna?”<br /><br />
<strong>You</strong>: “Well not exactly. I just have this hunch that because she’s young and cute that …”<br /><br />
<strong>Boss</strong>: “So you have a hunch? Do you know all the factors that go into my decisions? Or maybe you think I just unfairly toss the best jobs to the young and the beautiful?”<br /><br />
<strong>You</strong>: “Oh no, no! I just kind of noticed she seems to get some plum assignments …”<br /><br />
<strong>Boss</strong>: “So please help me, what exactly are you saying … or, should I say, accusing me of?”</p>
<p>Good luck with your next answer. You’ve got nowhere to dig but deeper into that hole with that approach. You can never prove your hunch. And guess who looks small-minded, impotent and sniveling in the trying? How could that possibly work to your advantage?</p>
<p>Nonetheless, your complaint may well be right and your aggravation understandable. Youth and good looks have their advantages. And bosses can be fickle and unfair. So what to do?</p>
<p>In a good setting, let your boss know of your interest in certain types of assignments. Don’t hide your enthusiasm. Cite specific examples and what skills you would bring to bear. Get a feel for how willing he/she is to accommodate. Then, see if they materialize. If not, a diplomatic reminder wouldn’t hurt. You could even volunteer for an anticipated future opportunity.</p>
<p>In the Spitzer Center programs, we teach about “The Comparison Game.” It’s natural to descend to a win, lose or draw perspective in the workplace. As a Christian professional, you’re better than that.</p>
<p>Your success ultimately depends on your competence and character. Focus on great performance and avoid the “Comparison Game.” It’s a distraction leading to the dead end of envy and low self-esteem. Instead, play the “Contributive Game.” Let the Lord give success to the work of your hands. (Psalm 90:17)</p>
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<p><strong>Jim Berlucchi</strong> is the executive director of the Spitzer Center, whose mission is to build cultures of evangelization (<a href="http://www.spitzercenter.org">www.spitzercenter.org</a&gt;).</p>