Dear E. Jean: My boss hates me! I just can’t please her. She favors the men in the office. When they do something wrong, she says nothing. If I make the slightest mistake, she storms and reprimands me. She says I don’t follow directions, but I think she misconstrues my initiative as insubordination. Does she hate me so much that despite the time and effort I’ve been putting in, she will hinder my chances for promotion? —Entry Level Forever?

Entry, My Eaglet: Of course your boss hates you. Depending on the hour, the day, and the situation, your boss hates everyone on her staff, in her department, in her building, and in her city who dares thwart her rise to the top. Here’s your plan:

1. Don’t flatter. Don’t cajole. And for gawdsakes, don’t be inventive. Follow her instructions and finish your assignments in a smart, swift manner that makes her look good.

2. Tell her superiors that she is a passionate, wily leader. (And if you don’t let management know this in such a way that it gets back to her, you are not the woman I take you for.)

PS: Read Robin Green’s badass book The Only Girl: My Life and Times on the Masthead of Rolling Stone. It’s chock-full of advice!

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This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.

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