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The Coach: ‘My colleague has become my boss’

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Careers expert Matthew Turner advises an architect who lost out to a co-worker in a bid to win promotion

Under a restructuring in our practice, a number of us went for a new team leader position and a colleague of mine got it. I have frequently worked with this person, almost supervising them, but now they are my boss, I am finding it pretty difficult.  

Matthew turner

Office hierarchy is an aspect of working life that can breed incredible resentment and unhappiness. The issue here is how much you want this to matter to you, and to get to you. 

Look at your workload dispassionately and ask yourself what has actually changed. Are you still doing what you enjoy? Is it still a challenge? Are the projects just as interesting as they were before? If so, this change in status means little. After all, your role in those projects will still be of value in the future should you look to change practices. 

Some managers become nostalgic for project level work, so perhaps you have the better deal

People who manage often get drawn to wider practice concerns such as chasing new work, budgeting, and people management. It isn’t to say these areas are not interesting, but some managers become nostalgic for project level work. So perhaps you have the better deal.

Of course, how interpersonal relationships work is going to be key. Your colleague’s transition from equal to superior may play out in a number of ways. While, of course, it is natural to feel disappointment, the directors clearly feel this person is capable and so you should allow them a certain amount of respect. Remember, teamwork is the dream work, and team players at every level tend to be more valued, listened to, and respected. 

However, who knows, your colleague may end up being a pain. You are your own agent. If things turns out to be a nightmare, you can always move on.  

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. To contact him with your questions, tweet @TheAJcoach or email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com 

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