Relationship Problems (and other questions) – Solved by Doctor Procurement

Since we started Spend Matters, we have had one request above all others. Quite literally, a reader asked, “why don't you run a problem page?”

The answer is that 'technical' problem pages tend to be a bit boring unless it is your question.  You know the sort of thing you get in technology websites / magazines.

“When I'm configuring my GX27-B router across the wi-fi sandwich co-ordinates, I get a unparalleled error message through the data-warp F section. The the big-drop loses scram functionality and the comms chip overheats in the cloud-bus. Why can't I get a girlfriend?”

So, although we like the idea of considering problems, we're not going to be technical here. Instead, we'll focus on managing relationships, both business and perhaps other types, an area we know is important for all our readers. And to answer your questions, I'm delighted to say we have engaged one of the world's leading experts on such psychologically sensitive matters.

He has pioneered some revolutionary new personal treatment methodologies, involving both mindfulness and deep tissue massage, sometimes simultaneously. But unfortunately, since the episode with the Russian oligarch's twin daughters, and last week's Crimewatch UK, France, Germany and Italy TV programmes, he is operating under his pseudonym for now; Doctor Procurement.

The doctor's email is tracked by the security services of several nations, hence we have to take the indirect route. So if you have any relevant questions, please send them to Dr. Procurement, care of our Editor, Nancy Clinton at

Anyway, here is our first question.

Dear Dr Procurement,

I thought I had a great relationship with this management consultant who was working with me on a project. We shared many a happy moment late into the evening over our spreadsheets and four-box models. Then I discover she has been seeing my boss behind my back, trying to get the project extended and more of her colleagues involved.  She's even taken him out for dinner to 'discuss business'. I thought she liked me! What should I do?

Charles,  Hampshire


Dr Procurement says:

Sorry to hear that Charles. Consultants are good at building relationships, with pretty much everyone they come across. So you're not the first to get your heart broken by a hot McKinsey or BCG  fast-tracker, boy or girl, with a brain the size of the planet and a body that's not the size of the planet but would probably make the planet get very excited if ... (the rest of this tortured and increasingly lurid  analogy has been cut in the interests of humanity - the Editor).

She's been doing what the consultancy trade call, in their quaint language, 'up-selling.' It's legal in most EU countries between consenting adults although we do recommend you take appropriate precautions. But for her, it's all about growing the business, I'm afraid, not growing her relationship with you.

Now, if she's delivering on your project, there's not much you can do – after all, if she's doing a great job for you, then you can't blame her for wanting to do more with your firm. But if her courting of your boss is getting in the way of her work for you, or she's doing this in your time while you're paying her on a day rate basis, you need to let her know this is not acceptable. Be polite, but firm (consultants like that approach, I find); and if you are paying her bill, tell your boss that you expect her to devote her time and energy to you and your project - not to him. But do it sensitively - he may be just as smitten as you!

Look out for more from Dr. Procurement next week or whenever the bail gets paid!

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