‘I so hate it when they call me love.’: Job Guru gives his advice


JAMES INNES, best-selling careers author and founder of The CV Centre, solves your work problems…



FED-UP: Male colleagues refer to female colleague as ‘love.’
(Pic: GETTY)

Dear James,

I work in an office which is 80% male and I worry the language used against me is inappropriate.

I’ve noticed more and more that the way I am spoken to is different to my male counterparts. I am challenged more on my performance, have my appearance commented on and seem to be spoken down to, when a man in the same position isn’t.

Other times I am called “darling” or “love” which makes me feel uncomfortable, although I am sure they are just trying to be nice.

Should I be worried about this and what can I do?

Rachel, 23, Liverpool

“A quiet word in private should be all it takes to resolve this sort of issue in the vast majority of cases, ideally with the individual in question”

James Innes

James says: Well, Rachel, this is certainly tricky. You ask whether you should be worried about some of the comments made or not.

If it is making you feel uncomfortable, as you say, then you should, of course, be worried about it. You should not have to be subjected to working conditions which make you feel uncomfortable on a daily basis. You have rights.

Now, if it was just one individual, I’d suggest you start off by having a quiet word with them. However, in your case, it’s clearly the entire offi ceculture that is a problem.

I would therefore say that your first step should be, discreetly, to request an informal, private chat with whoever your immediate boss is. This individual may be part of the problem but he or she should, nonetheless, be your first port of call.

Remain calm; remain polite; remain professional. But firmly and clearly explain your point of view – focussing on how it makes you feel – and any manager worth their salt should be able to readily resolve this matter.

Spotlight on terms of endearment

While I personally feel that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with terms of endearment such as “dear”, “darling” or “love”, if this sort of thing is making you feel uncomfortable then it’s clearly an issue for you.

One school of thought would argue that this is blatant sexual harassment and requires a robust reaction.

However, as Rachel notes, they might well just be “trying to be nice”. Trust me, you’ll know the difference!

A quiet word in private should be all it takes to resolve this sort of issue in the vast majority of cases, ideally with the individual in question. But, if that doesn’t work, you are totally within your rights to take the matter further.

Top tip

If you are otherwise happy in a role but have an issue with your colleagues, tread carefully and, in the first instance, try not to overreact.

Focus instead on finding a solution.

Got a question for James? Email: thejobsguru@dailystar.co.uk and follow him on Twitter: @jamesinnes

James Innes is the author of a number of best-selling careers books. They can be found here. He is also the founder of The CV Centre.


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