Boss's affair affects office morale
Dear Amy: I am convinced that my (married) boss is having an affair with a co-worker, and it is driving me mad.
All literature I have read says to leave it alone, but it is so demoralizing for me in my role at work that I feel completely stuck.
I am sales manager and he is director of sales. She is an administrative assistant and has no role in sales. They go on "sales calls" for hours and hours every few days. Not once have they brought back a lead. When I go on a sales call, I am mandated to file a report and do follow-up.
When they are out, they don't answer phone calls. They have spent literally hours "buying office supplies" at the local supply store. Hours!
They giggle and flirt endlessly, including going into quiet places in the office where they then whisper to one another.
She knows details about the company and its direction that no other staff member knows.
I once got in early and almost caught them in the act (I think), but of course I have no proof.
I try and ignore it -- I really do - but on a professional level I feel like there are different rules for her and the rest of the staff. She has had three pay rises in five months, and no one else has. She is also quite mean and backstabs co-workers.
Meanwhile, I feel unappreciated and feel that I am carrying the weight of the company. I find it hard to be motivated. My boss is never here!
I am miserable at work. I have started applying for any job I can grab, just to get out!
Please tell me that I am overreacting and should just enjoy my work and take the salary.
Dear Suspicious: It would be easy for me to tell you to hunker down and mind your own business, but during a previous life I dealt with a similar dynamic at work, and the "private" behavior of two people in senior positions, while not affecting me in any way personally, had a tremendous impact on the office overall.
Time spent away from the office, time spent in the office with the door closed, and the overall secrecy, distraction and drama surrounding the relationship overwhelmed the staff.
When people at work engage in illicit relationships, whether they realize it or not, they involve the entire office system in their behavior.
The burden should not be on you to determine whether these two are having an affair (I assume you would rather not know, anyway).
If you have an HR department, you should report your concerns -- include specifics regarding the extensive time away from the office when your boss is unreachable.
Even if you are able to bring this to HR's attention, you should not assume any resolution making things easier for you at work. Unless you can realistically envision waiting out this affair to its inevitable (litigious) conclusion, you should buff up your resume and look for work elsewhere.
Dear Amy: My closest friends sent me a gift basket for my birthday, which they ordered from an online retailer.
It was very thoughtful of them.
Unfortunately, all the food was damaged from items leaking. The glass containers were all broken.
It was obvious that the merchant did not pack it correctly before shipping.
After I thanked them, I decided to let my friends know about the condition of the basket.
I felt they spent good money, and if it were me I would want to know.
Should I notify the merchant?
I think that either they should get reimbursed, or the vendor should send a replacement. I don't think they are letting the merchant know.
Am I handling this correctly? Should I have told them?
Dear Grateful: You've done everything correctly. Take a picture of the damaged basket, notify the merchant and ask for a replacement to be sent to you. Then you can enjoy the gift, just as your friends intended.
Dear Amy: I didn't love your answer to "Chatty Sister," who said her brother yelled at her and their mother, demanding silence while he was studying. The brother could have a learning or processing disorder, making it difficult to maintain his focus. You should have suggested this.
Dear Upset: If the brother does have a disorder or learning challenge, it is his responsibility to find ways to mitigate it. Sitting in the middle of the family space and insisting on silence is not appropriate.