Posted on February 12, 2013 at 5:08 PM
I’m in an awkward situation. I just received a Valentine’s Day card in my work in-box from my boss. I’m a single female but my boss is married. I think I have a great working relationship with him. I’m a hard worker but I’ve always been able to cut up and joke around with him just like he does with most of the people in our department. I’m worried he’s taken my friendliness as something more. I have no idea how to handle this. I don’t want to offend him or embarrass him. If at all possible, please provide me with your advice before the 14th.
Uncomfortable with boss’s Valentine
Dear Uncomfortable with boss’s Valentine:
My advice to you is dependent upon a couple of things your email did not address. Did your boss give a similar, friendly Valentine to other women in your department and/or office? If that is the case, you have nothing to worry about. What kind of message and salutation were scribed in your Valentine? If there were no sexual or romantic innuendoes and it was purely a friendly gesture, you should not feel uncomfortable by it. If, however, you were the only one to receive a Valentine and its content was of an inappropriate nature, I suggest you have a talk with your boss where you let him know you respect him as a boss and want to keep your relationship strictly professional. In this latter instance, be sure to hold onto the card and document your communications with him regarding it in case you experience any negative repercussions.
A co-worker disparaged me and my work deliverables to our boss. I know this because unbeknownst to my co-worker, our boss wanted me to be aware that this person came to him and had said negative things about me and my work. It kills me that this co-worker acts like he’s such a good friend. Now that I know what he did, it’s hard for me to have anything to do with him. Right now, he has no idea I know he tried to throw me under the bus. I really want him to know I am well aware of what he told our boss. My boss didn’t say I shouldn’t say anything, but I realize he may have thought it was understood that I keep what he told me to myself. What do you think I should do?
Bad-mouthed by co-worker
Dear Bad-mouthed by co-worker:
Although it is admirable for your boss to have brought your co-worker’s two-faced behavior to your attention, it does not sound like he nipped this disingenuous behavior in the bud as he should have.
If you feel compelled to confront your co-worker, I suggest you have a discussion with your boss first. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize your relationship with him. If he does not have a problem with you challenging your co-worker, then handle the matter with firmness as well as respect. But if you learn your boss shared this information with you in confidence, take solace in being aware of your co-worker’s actions and proceed with the relationship with caution.
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell