Advice column: my colleague has treated me badly. Should I be part of his leaving do?

Dear Ash

One of my colleagues is leaving soon to take up another senior post and it is no secret that we have never seen eye to eye on most things. He has in fact been quite unjustly critical of me in the past and has had a tendency to talk badly about me to others. In any case, our boss has organised a whipround for this person and has proposed a leaving dinner and drinks too. However, I am loth to take part as I especially don’t want to come across as fake in front of others. However, another colleague, who is a good friend, seems to think that I should let bygones be bygones and show face by contributing to the collection and by attending the dinner.

Ash replies:

The intriguing and often complex world of office politics means that we sometimes have to act in a civil and professional manner towards those with whom we would not normally choose even to interact. Similar to the saying “we cannot choose our family”, we also cannot always choose who we work with, and like any uncomfortable, tension-brimmed, forced family gathering during festive time, we sometimes just have to bite our lips in order to get through the time with the minimum of tension and aggravation.

Therefore I suggest that you try to avoid any further hostilities and be the bigger person by contributing at least something (it doesn’t need to be a generous amount) to the collection and by at least attending part of the proposed leaving drinks to ensure you are seen as a good sport.

Your colleague is leaving and this should perhaps be a cause for celebration for you, as it may be the best gift that he could have given you!

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: peter@, or mail to Suite 6b, 1 Carmichael Place, Edinburgh EH6 5PH. 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 Education, Training & Qualifications team. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, head of admissions on 0131 476 8162 or by email: 

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