Workplace affair affecting 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 hours “buying office supplies” at the local supply store. 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 I have no proof. I try and ignore it, but on a professional level I feel like there are different rules for her and the rest of the staff. She has had three raises in five months, and no one else has.
Meanwhile, I feel unappreciated and feel I am carrying the weight of the company. I find it hard to be motivated. My boss is never here! I have started applying for any job I can grab, just to get out! Please tell me 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 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 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 of 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 can 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.
Copyright 2019 by Amy Dickinson Distributed by Tribune Content Agency