10 Ask a Manager letters that will make you glad you’re single

Brit + Co. compiled a list of their 10 favorite Ask a Manager letters about exes and other romantic complications at work. It’s here.


{ 28 comments… read them below }

  1. Cristina in England*

    I didn’t know that second question (ex with poor social media judgment and judgment in general) but reading a question from 2009 that dealt with social media felt it was from another era! Like when, in the original comments, the LW wrote that she suggested to PR that they check out what people are saying about them online.

  2. Hophornbeam*

    Alison, a few weeks ago you posted a call for updates and asked which letter-writers we’d really like an update from, and this post reminds me that I’d really like an update from “I overheard my girlfriend on a work call and am worried she’s a mean boss,” even though it’s a bit soon (to be honest, I’d really like an update from that letter-writer in a few years).

    1. LBK*

      I think the LW did write a bunch of follow up comments on the post, but I would also be interested to see how that one played out ultimately since IIRC her comments were a bit contentious.

      1. LBK*

        I went back and reread her follow up comments (she posted as ST:TNG:OP) and it seemed like the real issue is that she was dealing with a very stressful environment at her own job and her girlfriend’s behavior triggered her anxiety from that, rather than necessarily being a problem with her girlfriend.

  3. CoveredInBees*

    Never dealt with anything terribly scandalous but I ended up having an ex as my intern for a few weeks. I came back from a short vacation and there he was three desks down from mine. He was equally shocked because I’d gotten married and changed my last name and he hadn’t Googled me. I was professional as I could manage but he was generally unprofessional, so I didn’t worry too much about his being hired at the end of the internship. As far as I know, he didn’t mention to anyone that we had dated and I didn’t mention it until his internship was done.

    If it matters, we broke up because I didn’t want to marry him.

  4. Anonymous Annie*

    Yikes! No. 5 reminds me of the time a nurse in my clinic looked up the medical records of a monan who’d had a fling – and a child – with her husband. I hate drama in the workplace and although I was not directly involved in the situation I was sick to my stomach at work the day it was uncovered.

      1. Anonymous Annie*

        As I recall, she was trying to piece together information on on the child’s paternity and get the other woman’s contact details.

      1. Emily Spinach*

        An old friend of mine worked in a hospital in a management role that ensured rules were followed (I think more than just HIPAA compliance, but that was a big part) and she said it’s not super common but much more than they’d like that someone looks up records of someone they know. Not good!

      2. Candi*

        HIPAA my arse.

        I took my Health Unit Coordinator class (unit clerk/ward clerk/medical clerk) back in the late 1990s. We were thoroughly schooled on current regs and laws, and one of them was DO NOT look up medical files* on people you know** when you don’t need to know. Another was, if you see it by accident, you didn’t see it. If someone gossips to you, you didn’t hear it. And check to see if it’s reportable***; don’t just assume it’s not. Cover your rear in all things.

        * Paper files, mostly, but some computer.
        ** Ideally, you will say, “I know Savahn,” and be recused of any contact with their records
        *** Some of the gossip might come under the guise of “discussing a case”. HUCs had no business “discussing cases”.

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      That reminds me of something my BEC did at Exjob. When Cruella’s partner left her, he wouldn’t tell her where he moved to. She got her neighbour to text, but he made something up (he claimed to have moved 100 miles away but people were still reporting to Cruella that they’d seen him in local supermarkets). She asked her psychic who said he was “somewhere beginning with F” (our home town doesn’t, although I have no idea what street he lives on so maybe that does). In the end, she used the social care database to look up his Disability Living Allowance record and find his address that way. She admitted to someone what she had done and that person tipped the ex off. The ex made a formal complaint, his record got locked down, and Cruella was first to go in the round of layoffs.

      1. Former Employee*

        I wonder why someone who does something unethical or even illegal wants to tell anyone about it.

        While this does’t rise to the same level, there is a history of law enforcement confirming a suspect’s guilt because he just had to tell his cell mate all about what he did. I’m sure jail is boring, but why not talk about where you lived as a kid or the car you’re fixing up or anything other than the details of the crime for which you are currently incarcerated?

  5. Sandra*

    Did #5 in this list ever send in another update? I know she sent one in but I am hoping she found an awesome new job and the new boss who was so horrible got fired and is having a terrible time. I really did feel bad for the letter writer for #5. She did not deserve such terrible treatment. I hope she is doing better now.

  6. Falling Diphthong*

    This is like a festival of “Hmm, hmm, tricky situation… How could I make it all so much worse?”

  7. OlympiasEpiriot*

    I *really* don’t like that headline they chose.

    And all those stories together just remind me how happy I am that I have my 3Cs Exclusion Rule: If you could be, are, or have been a Client, Contractor or Colleague of mine, I will not date you. You could be Liev Schreiber, Daniel Craig and Billy Dee Williams from 1975 all rolled into one and I won’t touch you.

    I know people who had successful and happy relationships with people they work with. I still treat the possibility **for me** as not knowing which is the wire to cut to defuse a ‘device’.

  8. Esme Squalor*

    I forgot about #4, but boy, does that one make me mad. Don’t abuse your position of power to date subordinates and then get all in a snit when they need normal professional references. There is *no reason* anyone’s grand boss should be pursuing them romantically. He should have been grateful that the acrimonious breakup didn’t result in his subordinate outing him to HR for being insanely inappropriate.

    Withholding references from employees due to a sexual history starts to look a LOT like sexual harassment and retaliatory behavior really fast.

  9. JulieBulie*

    I’d never seen #2 before (ex posted nudes online, then got fired for other misbehavior, then posted his firing letter online, which caused prospective employers to withdraw offers). Awesome.

    Actually, he kind of sounds like the kind of guy who would spend $150 to get a rude decal for his truck out of spite towards his girlfriend (and perhaps an effort to discourage other women from dating him), and refuse to remove it when his employer asks.

  10. Jean (just Jean)*

    Well…reading all of these situations makes me grateful to have my own challenges (which are, thankfully, neither toxic nor explosive).

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