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WORK LIFE - DEAR AUNTIE...

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Dear Auntie, Part of my job is 'schmoozing' - lunches, drinks in the evening, that kind of thing. The trouble is I'...
Dear Auntie, Part of my job is 'schmoozing' - lunches, drinks in the evening, that kind of thing. The trouble is I'm useless at small talk - I just don't know what to say to a bunch of complete strangers. Do you have any tips?

RF, Sussex

Dear RF, I would get a new job if I were you - it sounds as if you are totally unsuited to it. It would be like a politician saying they didn't like the sound of their own voice. Why not make up some gossip about the chief executive next time you're schmoozing - that will always get people interested and talking.

Dear Auntie, A junior member of staff wears the most inappropriate clothing - skimpy tops and short skirts. She is distracting some of the more lascivious members of the team and I would like to have a quiet word with her. The trouble is I am a 45-year-old man and I'm not sure if my comments would go down very well. What should I do?

DS, Greater Manchester

Dear DS, Why not get a tactful female colleague to have a word with her? Pick someone a bit older, but not someone whose comments could be construed as bitchiness. I agree it could be a delicate situation for you - you don't want to end up with a sexual discrimination claim slapped on you.

Dear Auntie, I had a brilliant idea for saving the council thousands of pounds but my boss stole it. Of course, the idea has been a great success and my boss has been getting lots of praise for it. I have tried to talk to her about it but she refused to accept it was my idea in the first place. I am fizzing with rage and don't know what to do next.

HK, Scotland

Dear HK, I'm not surprised you're angry. Do you have any evidence this was your idea? Do you have any witnesses to meetings you might have had about the money-saving scheme? Could you not put it about - discreetly - that it was your idea and not hers. The council grapevine should take care of the rest.

If you have any questions please e-mail

dearauntie@emap.com

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