People in office
Illustration: Pierre Le-Tan
Q: My boss constantly asks me to use her husband for our design jobs; the problem is that he's just not that good. What to do?

A: "Most company ethics codes prohibit conflicts of interest, which this clearly is, but they don't always prohibit firing employees who complain. It's right to speak up, but it's also right to ask yourself whether this is the hill you want to die on. If it is, line up another job." — Rushworth M. Kidder, founder, the Institute for Global Ethics

"Try to appeal to both her sense of fairness and her desire to safeguard her husband's ego: 'You know, I'd hate to have people think your husband gets these jobs because of his connection to you rather than his talent, so don't you think it would be a good idea to open up our pool of applicants?'" — Faith Salie, host, public radio's Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie podcast

"Ask for multiple proposals from different designers to show your boss. She may see for herself that he's not the best man for the job. If needed, you can also solicit the opinion of a noninvested third party to weigh in on the candidates." — Lisa Caputo, chairman and CEO, Citi's Women & Co.


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