Ask E. Jean: The New Hire at My Job Flirts With My Boss Too Much

Life & Love

Dear E. Jean: Is there a way for the smart girl to defeat the seductress? I’m a psychologist who joined the private practice of a former teacher of mine. I love the business part of managing the practice as much as the therapy, and I’ve brought in a considerable amount of money by improving our social media and making a strategic new alliance. My boss and I have talked about making me a partner before too long.

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But he’s also hired another woman. I went to grad school with her, and she’s a notorious flirt, famous as a manipulator of male professors, and a witch to all females around her. I can outperform her, but the boss is giving her increasing importance; he says he “loves” her (facetiously), and he is soon to be divorced, so he’s a bit vulnerable. Am I overreacting?—Smarter Vs. Sexier

Smart, Dear Girl: No conscientious woman wants to see her boss straining like a corgi at the leash barking his love for her archrival.

Your countermove must be pure and true. Praise her intelligence to the staff when the boss is around; do it often, and don’t forget to add the interesting fact that in grad school, her beauty and wit turned so many male professors into lovestruck numskulls that the dean was thinking of putting her on the cover of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. With the entire office on alert, the boss won’t dare promote her over you because he’ll come off as an idiot. PS: But he could marry her. And in that case, forget it. Start your own practice.

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


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