Remember the letter-writer last fall whose boss’s wife was rude and insulting and kept trying to involve her in their personal finances? Here’s the update.
It’s been a very crazy situation, so I’m sorry to have taken so long to send this. I feel like I’ve only just gotten over it properly this last week.
Thanks again for your and everyone else’s advice. I showed it to my coworker. We have both since quit and are working at other jobs. YIPPEE! I must say, the “normal” of working with people that are respectful, work hard and aren’t compete weirdos was really startling to both of us at first (in a very good way)! Seriously, I pinch myself each day and feel extremely lucky.
So, what happened after I wrote in is we had a meeting: Jane, Boss, Coworker, and I. Coworker and I called the meeting and they reluctantly agreed to have it. We thought the meeting actually went okay at first! (We were wrong.) We came prepared for the meeting – brought in figures, our work hours, Jane’s rude emails printed out, evidence of the increasing workload, and customer comments/feedback and suggested we collaboratively come up with a plan and set of values (for lack of better word) around how we could all work together in 2016, go through everyone’s issues, the money stuff, how we would treat and speak to each other, how we’d all agree to behave, and what we’d commit to do as a company (e.g. answer emails within 48 hours, etc). We printed a calendar of the whole year to plan the goals they wanted to work towards each month. I’m embarrassed to say we both naively thought this could be a positive meeting.
Boss was very strange around Jane (his wife). She went through the figures, expressed amazement at how good they looked, apologised for her emails, it was all going okay-ish until Boss cut her off mid-sentence and told her to “okay just be quiet now, you’re babbling, Jane!”
I think my jaw actually dropped when Jane retreated into her shell and didn’t say anything. Keep in mind, Boss is usually charming and laissez faire about everything and Jane is usually aggressive and quick to anger.
We’ve never seen this side of him. Or her. He turned in a split second. Emotional abuse much?
She then very quietly fobbed off the planning and said she wasn’t interested and Boss could go through this on a work day, not today perhaps. Boss said,” Oh, don’t you f**king tell me what to do, Jane!” then said he was going out for lunch because he was bored of the meeting. He left and then Coworker, Jane, and I were still sitting around the table (in shock). Jane apologised again and said she was under major stress because Boss could not handle money well and getting them into a lot of debt. We said it was nothing to do with us and if they couldn’t afford to pay us then they shouldn’t have staff.
Jane kept apologising over and over about her emails and said she hadn’t thought before she typed and she was angry at Boss and acknowledged she shouldn’t take it out on us. She then launched into inadequacies of Boss, how lazy he is, how he spends all her money, how he’s irresponsible and selfish… Coworker and I were very wary and just listened and kept moving towards the door. We know better than to get involved in a married couple’s relationship issues. We honestly said nothing, just said some vague hmmmms in response, and got the hell out of there as soon as we could.
We left together and were happy Jane had communicated with us and felt we had a bit more understanding of where she was coming from (and that she knew she had behaved unacceptably). The next work day, we came in and started replying to and calling customers. Boss said good morning, was bumbling along, sitting there watching YouTube videos of racing cars as usual for about 20 minutes or so, and suddenly he paused the video, swivelled around in his chair, and the side of him we saw at the meeting was out again. He started shouting and swearing at us saying HOW F**KING DARE WE speak about him to Jane behind his back. HOW DARE WE say X, Y, Z about him (it was actually Jane who said XYZ about him being lazy, not us). HOW DARE WE continue the meeting without him present. Coworker burst into tears and I would have too but I was too shocked! He kept going, really a monster and verbally abusive. We were backed into our work corner too and he was blocking the exit (not stopping us from going or anything, but when someone is shouting like that, it’s quite threatening in atmosphere not to be able to reach an exit). We calmly eventually got out that we didn’t say anything, that Jane said all those things and we just sat and listened, and he started going off again saying he spoke to her and she said we had said all those things about him.
I packed up my things, left the office key on the desk, said “excuse me” as I pushed past him, and walked out and so did Coworker, to him yelling at us in the background: WHERE THE F**K DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?! COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW, HOW DARE YOU LEAVE, YOU DON’T HAVE MY PERMISSION TO LEAVE… etc etc. It was quite scary, to be honest, but in the moment it kind of seemed comical and I felt pity for them. I couldn’t stop worrying about the customers though and what would happen there, but self preservation got me out of there!
So all these years, under the casual and relaxed persona of Boss has been a psychopath and behind Jane’s cross-ness/rudeness is an emotionally/verbally abused woman acting out her bottled up anger. And we’re pretty sure she threw us under the bus in her place when they talked after the meeting to save her marriage. Equally scary and sad.
So Luxury Teapot Company has sadly now closed. I know some readers suggested Coworker and I buy it (we wish!) but the asking price is around AUD$8 million. Yes, really!
They replaced both of us four times since January (so, eight different people) and couldn’t get anyone to stay – while Jane was apparently very nice to them they all complained about Boss being lazy and not managing and the workload being ridiculous – they couldn’t find anyone willing to do the extra hours we had for free. They begged us both to come back but there’s no way in hell. We called Fair Work Australia because surely his behaviour is illegal, but they weren’t particularly helpful and nothing went any further. We’re both just happy to be out of there.
So it closed down a few weeks ago because Jane doesn’t have time to answer and service and schedule the customers as she works full-time with a lot of overtime and Boss refuses to answer emails or answer the business phone ,so without staff the customers go unanswered and no bookings get made. And no one has a spare $8 million hanging around to buy the business. I feel very sorry for the lovely customers that had booked and now are trying to get their deposits back from Boss and Jane, and I’m still getting calls about it on my personal mobile phone. I do feel a little responsible, but I just couldn’t stay there.
Thank you again, Alison, for your and everyone else’s advice. It got both Coworker and I out of the fog and crazyland and things are so, so much better now. Totally and utterly relieved.