A. Your son sounds like a really talented guy, but to be successful he needs to be in the right organisation. Each company has its own distinctive culture, you can sense the atmosphere as soon as you turn up at the reception desk or speak to a middle manager on the phone.
Sadly, there are plenty of places where it pays to be selfish, with promotion being won by macho management gambits rather than playing a proper part in the team. This usually happens when the company simply has too many bosses or the chief executive is either out of touch or too arrogant to see the damage that is being done.
Staying late to earn a few brownie points ahead of the next appraisal is just one of a number of ploys played by ambitious executives. If you want to learn more, read the words of Stephen Potter who extended his helpful tips on gamesmanship to include the more fundamental skills of Lifemanship, which could be described as how to succeed in business solely by impressing the boss.
If your son is as good as he sounds, he will have no difficulty in finding a job and a workplace that is more suited to his personality with a boss who will appreciate his talent. He should move on before he, too, gets sucked into the silly game his colleagues are playing. Let me reassure him that there is no need to burn the midnight oil to be successful.
John Monks in our development department, who has played an absolutely pivotal role in the creation of our supermarket concessions, especially the pods we have put in car parks, is an early starter but always leaves the office well before 4.00pm. There should be no need to hang around after hours to impress the boss.
Q. A year ago I took on my niece and nephew as social media executive and website designer. They did a great job but my business has gone through some problems, which meant we weren’t making any money so I couldn’t afford to pay them. I’ve just had to make them redundant and may have to close the company – but my sister now won’t speak to me because she thinks it’s unfair. How do I fix this?
A. As you’ve discovered, employing other members of the family can create its own problems. A family business is not just there to provide relations with employment it also needs to make money. You were right to make your niece and nephew redundant, the mistake you made, in a rush of optimism, was to employ them for a project that failed to fulfil your dream.
Do whatever you can to help your young relatives. If possible provide a generous redundancy package, give them some career guidance and provide them with good references. As far as your sister is concerned all you can do is to say sorry. From what you say I’m not sure she will accept your apology but, having done all you can to help, your conscience will be clear, and in time your sister may mellow and get back on speaking terms.