DEAR HARRIETTE: I work for my family’s business. My father is the head of our company. Staff whisper the typical stigma about me: If I weren't his son, I would not have my job or would not keep my job, and the only reason that I have succeeded in moving up in the company is because of, as a co-worker said, “my birthright.” It is tough having to prove my worth to my co-workers every day just to be accepted by them because they feel we are different and they will never move up in the company like I have. I don’t find that to be true. I know that if I were bad at my job, my father would remove me and give the job to someone else. At the same time, yes, this company is my family’s legacy, and I deserve the chance to succeed. I do not want to feel guilty for this fact; I just want everyone else off my back. -- Singled Out
DEAR SINGLED OUT: You cannot control what people say about you, but you can control yourself. Make sure that your work is excellent -- always. Show up early, do your very best, be kind to your co-workers and exhibit your leadership skills. Encourage your co-workers to strive to be their best. And do your best to ignore their comments.
You can also talk to your father about the infrastructure of the company and opportunities for growth for other employees. If he believes there is a chance for anyone to rise up in the company, suggest that he make it known that there is room for growth. If he promotes someone other than you, it will demonstrate to the staff that he is fair -- even as he continues to groom you to run the business.