Advice column: a trainee's crush on our boss is getting on my nerves

Dear Ash

One of the female trainees in our department seems to have developed a crush on our line manger. Every time he enters the room, she seems to get all giggly and acts like a silly schoolgirl. More recently, she has started to talk loudly about her extensive workload every time he comes within earshot and it is getting really annoying. She doesn't seem to care about hiding her clear attempts at flirting with the manager. I am not the only one that seems to get irritated by her behaviour, as I overheard some of the secretaries recently speaking about the situation. However, our manager seems oblivious to her behaviour and just seems to smile whenever she makes feeble attempts to impress him; she recently complimented him on his dress sense; using her fake, insincere high-pitched voice, she went as far as suggesting that he had missed his calling as a stylist!

Ash replies

When someone has to deploy such tactics in order to seek attention, you can be sure of one thing - that there is an underlying feeling of insecurity which propels them to use such attention-seeking methods. You and others clearly are confident in yourselves and do not feel the need to resort to such demeaning behaviour.

As a junior member of staff, she is clearly eager to show off to your boss in order to impress him, but rather than focus her efforts on her work and let this speak for itself, she is clearly feeling the need to use these silly tactics instead. Your boss may be well aware of what she is doing, as it is seemingly obvious to everyone else, but he may view such conduct as frivolous and trivial and therefore not worth addressing. Indeed, depending on his age and seniority, he may well have come across such behaviour previously and may just assume it is due to her inexperience and immaturity.

Yes, such behaviour can be distracting and indeed disruptive, but take comfort from the fact that, like many forms of immature behaviour, most people do tend to grow out of it… eventually!

Send your queries to Ash

"Ash" is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor:, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS.

Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar's Department. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, Manager in the Registrar's Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or

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