Dear Annie: I've been at my current job for nearly 10 years. But over the last year, I've become very discouraged, as the pandemic has helped to shine a bright light on my employer's true character. He has asked us to work in unsafe conditions this entire pandemic, exposing us to risk every day so that he can continue to rake in money through his business. The greed and lack of regard for his employees has been truly eye-opening. Even now that we're seemingly pretty close to a return to "normalcy," and I won't have to worry about health on the job, I can't forgive him for how he acted throughout this whole thing.
Before this past year, I had a great deal of respect for this person and enjoyed my job. I had a lot of pride in working for the person I thought he was. This realization of his true character has very much soured my perspective and motivation going forward. Do I quit, or do I honestly tell my boss how disappointed I am? At the end of the day, he is only about the dollar, and the show he puts on pretending to care is all lies. He has gone to extreme measures to protect only himself and could care less about us. How can I continue to work for someone who is only in it for himself? -- Employee for the Moment
Dear Employee: This may be a silly question, but I have to ask: Did you let your boss know (in writing) that you feel unsafe in the current conditions? If not, that should be your first order of business. If he continues to disregard your safety even after you've expressed your concern, then document his negligence as thoroughly as possible. On Jan. 21, 2021, the White House issued an executive order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, which may entitle you to further protections and recourse. It's worth talking to an employment lawyer for guidance on next steps.
Legal facets aside, to your ultimate question of how you continue working for a person who has made it clear he cares more about his wealth than his employees' health: Crisis reveals character, and now that your boss showed his true colors, it will be hard to unsee them. Looking for a new job is a wise idea. It's prudent to secure another position before leaving your current one.
Dear Annie: I got hung up on your response to "Unheard Girlfriend," who wrote to you about her boyfriend. She said they "have one child together and one on the way" and that she was frustrated because she does all of the housework even though they're both employed. She mentioned that they divide up expenses, with the boyfriend paying the house payment and her paying for the utilities and all the groceries. I wonder if she is on the title of their home. If not, she should have that taken care of at once. If this man decides he is unhappy sometime down the line, then she needs to protect herself and those children.
Forgive my intrusion; I just felt she needed to cover herself and those children. And now I can rest easier. -- From Florida
Dear From Florida: No need to apologize for raising astute observations. Your point about the house title is important. I'm printing your letter for the benefit of "Unheard Girlfriend" and anyone else in a similarly precarious situation. Thanks for writing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.