Advice column: female colleagues can't seem to take my new improved look

Dear Ash

I recently undertook to improve my health and fitness and managed to lose a substantial amount of weight. This also propelled me to start a beauty regime and to be more fashion conscious, and although this has vastly helped to improve my self-esteem and self-confidence, I have found that certain female colleagues at work seem to have become less friendly since my makeover. I recently overheard my name being mentioned in the toilets by a couple of female colleagues and they went quiet when they saw me. I was also not asked to attend a lunch organised by some of the girls in the department. I don’t think I have changed as a person and I’m still a hard worker; but the cold shoulder treatment from certain colleagues is really starting to wear me down. 

Ash replies:

First of all, well done! Not everyone has the willpower and determination to bring about such improvements into their lives. It is exactly this strength of character and determination that has attracted the envy from your colleagues; however, you cannot let this dampen your spirits.

Any successful person normally attracts a certain degree of envy and negativity from others. You only need to see the recent spate of cases involving various Twitter trolls to see the negativity that can be directed, without justification, towards people who are viewed as having any degree of success.

In short, envy is sometimes an inevitable consequence of success, but this should not necessarily be viewed as a negative thing. Clearly you have done so well that certain people have taken notice and are envious of your achievements, and quite frankly are perhaps now feeling a little insecure themselves. Take everything in your stride and try to look past any negativity, as it will inevitably subside once your colleagues learn to accept that the new you is here to stay.

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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