my boss wants to visit us during the stay-at-home order

A reader writes:

I was hoping you could help me address a request from my manager. I work on a small team (five of us altogether) where we are all the same gender, around the same age, and have a lot of similar interests — the perfect makings for a traditional “friend group.” Except that, of course, one of us is a manager (“Jordan”) so there needs to be some level of distance between us.

The trouble is, Jordan has a hard time with this. In some cases, Jordan is able to maintain professional boundaries, but in others, they will join us for happy hours, get tipsy, and start telling us about problems in their marriage. Jordan will also occasionally fight with their spouse in front of us. Not big blowouts, but enough of an argument where the rest of us are uncomfortable. I would feel awkward arguing with my own spouse in front of close friends in this way, let alone coworkers. I certainly don’t know everything that happens in their marriage (thankfully!) but from what I’ve been given insight into, they don’t seem like a great match and have trouble communicating. This brings me to my question:

We have all been working remotely for a while now. Jordan recently asked “Alex” if they could both spend the day working from Alex’s house. Jordan “needed to get out of the house” and “spend a few hours away from [spouse].” We are in a state with a lot of COVID-19 cases and our stay-at-home order is still in effect. We’re supposed to be quarantined, full stop. Alex was flustered but ultimately agreed to it. Jordan later said it was okay because they were “socially distanced from each other in the house” and then made a comment that maybe they would give us all a visit at some point because it might help boost everyone’s mood during a difficult time. We all sort of hemmed and hawed and Jordan moved onto something else, but I feel like it’s still hanging in the air. The more Jordan is cooped up with their spouse, the more I feel it’s likely more of these requests will be coming.

Jordan is a sensitive person, so I’m wary of saying no for fear of the reaction … but I absolutely don’t want Jordan in my house. I know they haven’t been strictly following quarantine because we’ve heard a lot of stories about the places they and their spouse have been going, and not many of them were essential trips (with the explanation that they were “socially distant,” but I doubt they’ve been careful — Jordan has even said they don’t know where their mask is right now).

What is the best way to handle this if Jordan suggests working from my house? I don’t want anyone coming into my home who doesn’t live here. But I’m not sure how to phrase that without Jordan taking offense. I’m also afraid that if I say I don’t want anyone at all in the house, Jordan will push how “careful” they’ve been (when I know that isn’t true) and press for acceptance.

WTF, Jordan?

Here’s how you say it: “We still have a stay-at-home order, so I am not having any visitors yet.”

If you live with other people, feel free to blame it on them — they’re high-risk, won’t allow it, etc. This is one of the benefits of sharing space with other people.

But otherwise, you say the above and you stick to it. If Jordan tells you how careful they’ve been, you repeat, “I’m just not having any visitors yet so I can’t do that.” And you stick to it.

Maybe Jordan will get upset! You have to be okay with that possibility — because otherwise you are choosing to give into an unreasonable demand (and frankly, emotional manipulation) over your own health and safety. People do that all the time (in fact, people sometimes get hurt and even killed because they do that), but it’s usually harder to do it when you clearly see that those are the two choices you’re picking between.

And really, it’s okay if Jordan gets a little upset. It might be useful to ask yourself: what specifically worries you about that outcome? It doesn’t sound like you’re worried about professional repercussions; it sounds like you just don’t want to upset Jordan because you’re a nice person. But being more invested in not upsetting unreasonable people than you are in protecting yourself (whether it’s your health or your boundaries or your mental well-being) is not a good thing. It’s enormously helpful for your quality of life to decide it’s okay if people are sometimes disappointed or upset, as long as you stand by your own actions.

It’s also a good thing to model for others. Your coworkers are more likely to stand up to Jordan when they see you doing it, and that’s good for everyone.

So no, Jordan can’t come over. You’re not having visitors yet, period.

{ 219 comments… read them below }

  1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

    The phrase you can use is “for my safety, I am self-isolating according to government guidelines. I am sorry, but no one is currently entering my house.”

    No specific mention of Jordan. Repeat as necessary.

    Oh, and I suggest you start considering another job when you can. Managers like Jordan who violate these boundaries will violate others more and more.

    1. Lynn*

      That is great wording. I would add — try to put it in email so it’s easy to fwd the whole conversation to HR if it escalates.

      1. valentine*

        If OP is, indeed, not worried Jordan will fire them, but super averse to hurting Jordan feelings or just currently incapable of saying no to an authority, turning it around on and mentioning Jordan might work.

        Jordan: *uses their position to prevent peer bonding*
        Jordan: *invites their spouse to same*
        Jordan: *fights with spouse (at same?)*
        Jordan: *is not a happening frood who knows where their mask is*
        Jordan: *insists they are super safe*
        OP: *voice cracking* If anything happens to you, Jordan, I need to know it didn’t come from me.

        If the spouse is the same gender and this is a “Gender unite!/We’re all gender here/What’s the big deal?/Isn’t this great” Charlie Foxtrot, someone needs to start peeling it apart, and saying no to public health violations is a great start. OP might also practice planning post-pandemic non-Jordan meetups, even if it has to be a smaller group, starting with a simple no-bosses rule, and maybe designating a regular, no-spouses, Jordan-inclusive event.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Jordan needs a serious CTJ talk, but of course OP does not have to be the one to deliver it. I like the script above.

      This situation actually sounds more ludicrous if we take away the shelter in place orders. In what normal world can a manager say “hey, can I transform your house into my office because I’m bored?” Not a one. The public health orders only heighten the “wtf-ness” of it, but even without them, OP should think about cheerfully telling Jordan no.

      And it sounds like it may be worth the team banding together to support one another in saying no since Alex was already subjected to Jordan.

      1. AKchic*

        You know, it might actually be helpful to rephrase Jordan’s question back to Jordan without the pandemic aspect.

        “You want to come to my house to ‘work’ to get away from your spouse?” (said in an incredulous tone)

        Or really repeat back the entire question, laid all out: “You want to break state quarantine rules to avoid your spouse by coming to *my* house to work for ‘a little bit’ because we aren’t allowed in our offices?”

        Honestly, a simple “that won’t be possible” is enough. No explanations into why it won’t be possible isn’t necessary. If Jordan attempts to wheedle, cajole, or push; a simple “let’s see if HR wants to approve it, or approve you working from the office since you’re having some issues at home, or maybe they have an EAP they can offer” but at no time should the LW back down.

        1. JustKnope*

          Repeating the question back in an incredulous tone like this feels unnecessarily critical, especially to one’s boss. Delivering Alison’s line neutrally is all that’s needed here.

          1. AKchic*

            I have hit the point of “do I really need a job”. I blame the sun and the fact that I have been working nonstop for way too long.
            And the fact that I really don’t care about my bosses. I know exactly how dense they are (I’m related to one of them).

          2. Avasarala*

            I agree, this would work for a friend, but I wouldn’t say this to my boss unless I felt VERY comfortable in my job security.

        2. Annony*

          I would try to sympathize and redirect. “I definitely understand feeling cooped up right now! My house has never felt so small! Having another person here would make me even more stressed, not less. But I’m definitely looking forward to a team happy hour when all this is over. ” And then if they push you can be more explicit “My house doesn’t really have a place for you to work and still be socially distant. I really can’t host you without being unsafe.”

        3. Tired*

          These suggestions all strike an angry or offended tone. It’s definitely reasonable to *feel* this way but I don’t think using this tone would get the LW a good result.

          I would stick directly to the facts stated dryly. “I’m not having visitors over right now” or “I’m not able to host anyone at my house currently.” Repeat verbatim until he gives it up. These phrases can also used if the state’s shelter-in-place order is lifted but you still don’t want him working at your house.

        4. Traffic_Spiral*

          That somehow manages to feel both passive-aggressive *and* combative at the same time. Not sure I’d take that tone with my boss. Just give a simple “sorry, I can’t have visitors.” Simply repeating things in an angry tone and hoping someone gets the hint rarely works well.

      2. MassMatt*

        “He made a comment that maybe they would give us all a visit at some point because it might help boost everyone’s mood during a difficult time”.

        Not only is he wanting to violate quarantine, endangering his employees’ (sorry–FAMILY’S!) health, he thinks this would boost morale! Because the #1 complaint people have in quarantine is not having their boss around more. The cluelessness is strong with this guy.

        1. First Time Commenting*

          He? The letter writer is very careful to avoid specifying anyone’s Firstgender throughout the letter.

          1. allathian*

            To me, Jordan is a male name, so I thought it was a man. Although, come to think of it, it could just as well be a woman, there are just as many boundary-crossing women as there are men.

            1. StrangerThanFiction*

              Really? I was picturing Scrubs all the way through (though the ‘sensitive’ bit was a stretch, and TBH in that case it would be the other spouse I’d expect was desperate to get out of the house.

            2. Candace*

              Funny, I thought of the show “Crossing Jordan” where the main character, Jordan Kavanaugh, is a woman, played by Jill Hennessey. I do not know any Jordans personally.

          2. MassMatt*

            So? Alison defaults to “she” unless otherwise specified. I find using “they” as a singular and will use it when requested but no rule requires its use when not indicated.

            1. short'n'stout*

              The pronouns they/their/them *are* otherwise specified, and *are* indicated – by the LW using those pronouns consistently throughout the letter.

    3. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs*

      Oh, and I suggest you start considering another job when you can. Managers like Jordan who violate these boundaries will violate others more and more.

      This. There’s no way Jordan is an effective manager. Also, based on the forced socializing and lack of care for safety guidelines, I imagine they will push to get everyone back to the office as soon as possible, regardless of the risk.

      1. Anon for this*

        Thank you for posting this. I am also considering job hunting. My boss is in a rush to re-open, get us all together, and start having face-to-face client meetings. No. No. No. No.

    4. LW Here*

      I am noticing more and more that boundaries in general are a problem with the company. The entire company is about 25 people and started as a family business, so still small enough where everyone says “we’re a family.” This was my first job out of college and I’m seeing that it’s not an entirely normal environment. Getting involved in each other’s personal lives is encouraged as “bonding,” and I’m seeing how that really blurs the lines. At first it felt nice to be at a company that cares but now I realize everyone cares entirely too much…

      1. Ponyboy*

        Oh, LW, the family line is always a red flag. It’s too often used to manipulate employees into making choices that benefit the employer at the expense of the worker.

      2. Akcipitrokulo*


        It is good that you’ve found this site, so you know your first job is NOT normal.

        “Family” is a warning sign. Boundary-crossing lauded as “bonding” is a warning sign. How Jordan behaved BEFORE this is a marching band of red flags.

        And then this…

        You do not need to worry about how Jordan will cope. That is her business.

        Good luck!

      3. KimmyBear*

        Having worked in companies like this, do you even have a real HR department? Is there anyone in leadership that realizes this is really bad in case you need backup?

        1. LW Here*

          We do have an HR person, but I’m not confident how seriously it would be taken. They might be able to put a stop to Jordan’s plan simply because of actual state/government restrictions, but people that push back against “team bonding” type of activities start to be seen as outsiders.

          I realize it sounds like I’m in a cult. That’s… not great.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            Awareness helps a lot. Make sure you read AAM archives, and her posts about not taking toxic habits into new environments. Good luck.

            In this situation, Alison’s got the right advice – neutral, universal (no visitors), in line with A Big Authority (government).

      4. The Original K.*

        “We’re family” is always, always a red flag for me – it’s typically code for “we have no boundaries,” as you’re seeing.

      5. Momma Bear*

        When “family” is used to cross boundaries, then what they’re really saying is we expect you to take a lot of crap.

        No is a complete sentence. I think we often get into explanations and excuses when they are not necessary. “No, you cannot work from my house.” Rinse and repeat. Many people are going a bit bananas right now. Invading someone’s home is not appropriate.

        1. ENFP in Texas*


          No is definitely a complete sentence. “No, I’m sorry, but that isn’t an option.”

          People don’t get to invite themselves over into your personal space and just expect you to roll over. It’s YOUR house, not a common workspace. If they are having problems at home that they need to escape from, that is not YOUR responsibility to get involved with if you don’t want to.

      6. ENFP in Texas*

        They’re not family, they’re co-workers. And once you move on to another job, the odds of staying in touch with them are next to zero.

        (I already have a family. I don’t need another one.)

    5. Sparrow*

      Yeah, I would opt for broader language about recommendations/guidelines on self-isolation instead of referencing an official government directive. Stay at home orders may not be in effect much longer, and I doubt OP would suddenly be ok with Jordan in their house. Or, they at least need to be prepared with a counter when Jordan is like, “No, it’s fine, the state is loosening the restrictions.”

    6. animaniactoo*

      How I phrased it to someone who wanted to visit where they shouldn’t (this is the follow-up to the expected response of “but it’s safe!”:

      “Yes, I understand the house is safe because nobody is visiting or going anywhere unless strictly necessary for essential items. That is actually the point – it remains safe by not making any exceptions for any reasons, and that’s what I’m comfortable with.”

      In Jordan’s case, I would add the ASSUMPTION of agreement: “I’m sure you understand.”

    7. Ana Gram*

      Something as simple as “oh, we’re not allowed to do that yet. The governor hasn’t lifted the safer at home order. But I’m looking forward to returning the office eventually. How’s the XYZ project going?” in a slightly rueful, gosh, I wish we could tone might do the trick. Jordan doesn’t need to know you do not, in fact, have any rue!

  2. Jedi Squirrel*

    Yeah, Jordan, we all feel this way. But as my mom said, “better to be bored than dead”.

  3. juliebulie*

    If someone says no, it might be a helpful wake-up call for Jordan. About safety… about boundaries… about other people. Because Jordan is thinking only about Jordan’s comfort. Having the boss over during lockdown is not going to “boost everyone’s mood.” People are literally dying from this virus. It is real.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      This reminds me of a Captain Awkward quandary, between the desire for communication to be straightforward (“You won’t know if you don’t ask!” “People can always say no if they’re uncomfortable; I won’t mind!”) and the real-life people who promptly make that hope ridiculous.

      1. TootsNYC*

        supposedly those “straight-forward” people will be willing to hear no; you just have to say it to them.

        ha, ha…no.

        1. Nobby Nobbs*

          Honestly, I’ll take the Jordans of the world over the “I clearly want something from you, but I’m going to make you guess what it is then passive-aggressively punish you when you’re too dumb to figure it out” crowd, but I’m unusually bad at guessing so YMMV.

          1. Nobby Nobbs*

            Sorry, in hindsight this comment looks really rude. Can we just agree that both “ask culture” and “guess culture” are home to plenty of entitled jerks?

          2. Vimes*

            Well, it’s not Highlander. You can dislike both of those things. Because they are both highly dislikeable (why is “likeable” a word but not “dislikeable”?)

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              I think it’s unlikeable (autocorrect agrees) because it’s un+likeable rather than dislike+able.

              Also, +1.

              1. Traffic_Spiral*

                True, but I wish it was a word. I always thought of “don’t like” as simply the absence of liking, while “dislike” implies actual negative feelings. Guess we’ll have to stick with “unpleasant” or “annoying.”

          3. Swiftly Tilting Planet*

            I’m neurodivergent, it was hard enough for me to learn the social cues of my pretty direct Ask family in the greater Ask culture I live in.
            But Guess Culture I have never been able to parse at all. It seems like a cultural dialect distinct unto itself, a complex and coded language which combines both speech and manners in a way that those not born to it can learn it, but like adults trying to learn a language that uses sounds that don’t exist in the one they grew up speaking, they can become fluent, but never quite hear/understand/appreciate it like someone who grew up speaking the language.
            I didn’t even know such a thing existed until I was in my 40s, but my Ask family who grew up in Guess times/places make much more sense now.

        2. Gazebo Slayer*

          Yeah – the problem is that some people who make big, likely unreasonable requests really will be fine with a no, and others will pitch a fit, but you don’t necessarily know which is which until you actually *say* no.

          1. Swiftly Tilting Planet*

            And those people make it really difficult for us neurodiverse people who actually *need* people to be clear and direct with us when we ask for it.

      2. Fikly*

        People “can” always say no. They may choose not to. If they do not, and there isn’t some kind of power imbalance like in the workplace, you are not responsible for the consequences if they say it’s fine but actually it’s not.

    2. Code Monkey, the SQL*

      Geez, and I thought I was going to be having a difficult conversation with a person whose wedding I have to decline for similar reasons (not planning around restrictions, not believing things to be ‘that bad’, not following social distancing currently, etc.). How nerve-wracking to have to explain to one’s boss that no, reality is, I don’t want to be around your germs right now!

      1. AKchic*

        Can turn that card around by saying “being a team player means not trying to get everyone sick to the point of death”.

        Nobody dies of boredom.

      2. Sara without an H*

        You know, the longer I read AAM, the more I think that “team player” needs to be added to the Lexicon of Shame, right along with “We’re like a family.”

        1. TootsNYC*

          I agree.

          It frustrates me, because I’ve decided that one of my strengths is that I’m a team player.
          Which I define as “understanding how the team functions, and how other people do their jobs, so I can do MY job in a way that supports other people as they do their jobs–providing timely info; looking out for art-department concerns when editing the text; alerting Department A that they should loop in Department B about aspect X…

          But it’s been polluted so badly, the term just doesn’t come across that way

        2. LW Here*

          Funny you mention “We’re like a family” because that is said A LOT. We’re small enough that if you seem to be having an off day, the owner of the company might drop by your office to ask what’s up. Everyone is encouraged to share their feelings. If you admit to having a rough time, everyone will be in your business, trying to help you feel better (whether you’d like that or not).

          1. Nita*

            Maybe you can turn that around on Jordan and say “yes, I know you’re like family. Extended family. And we’re supposed to stay away from extended family right now, so just have some patience and try to find a good spot to work in your own house!”

            1. MayLou*

              I was thinking this too. “But we’re like family!” “And I’ve not seen my actual family since the order was put in place, because it’s about not meeting anyone from outside your household.”

          2. Sara without an H*

            I feel for you! If Jordan’s neediness isn’t enough to drive you out onto the job market, I think this would be.

          3. Jules the 3rd*


            That is not normal professional behavior. At least they’re trying to make you feel better, but the cost is your privacy. They are not your family, nor are they your therapists.

            And with Jordan, you can see how that payment of privacy goes from ‘hm, odd’ to ‘oh heck no’. I don’t buy slippery slope all the time, but it is the problem you’ve got here.

          4. tangerineRose*

            I haven’t seen most of my family since early March, and the people I have seen were at a distance and outside, and we only talked briefly. I love my family – if I get infected, I don’t want to spread it.

          5. Archaeopteryx*

            “Yes, we’re *like* a family, but we aren’t one, and this is pretty clearly braking the pandemic rules.”

            It may help to use “pandemic’ rather than milder terms like self-isolation to make it clear that we’re still in the middle of a disaster.

          6. ENFP in Texas*

            They’re not your family, though, and you should probably consider looking at putting some new boundaries in place to separate your work life and your personal life. This situation may provide the opportunity to start doing that, while having the social distance rules to help back you up.

          7. Jojo*

            The way i read this situation, you must definitely say . First, if she shows up no work will be done. She will spend the day regaling you with how bad things are at home for her. Then she will try to move into your home because, well, you know how bad her home life is. She just cannot stay there another day.
            Tell her no in no uncertain terms or you will have a worse situation on your hands. Some people have no boundaries.

        3. Creamsiclecati*

          When I think of being a “team player”, I think of someone who isn’t only looking out for him or herself, but who understands what’s best for the team or company as a whole. Which in this case is to continue to obey distancing ordinances because a) it’s in the team’s best interest to keep their people healthy and able to work, and b) your company will be compliant with current government regulations. Being a team player does not mean agreeing to every whim of my boss because she’s bored when it’s clearly not in anyone’s best interests.

          1. boo bot*

            Yes! Literally the most “team player” thing anyone can do right now is to stick to the social distancing guidelines – we’re all on Team Humans.

            Don’t work for Team Virus, Jordan!

  4. CA in CA*

    You could try saying “I’m sorry but if I had my manager over before my mother/father/sibling/niece/nephew/whoever I’d never hear the end of it” and maybe that will stop the requests. Lawd I can’t imagine having to have this conversation with my boss. Good luck OP!

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      That’s a great one. I’d definitely tag it onto the “no visitors now” statement. It’s a perfect deflect. Jordan will start complaining about those people in addition to spouse, which is really what Jordan wants to do.
      Jordan is a victim…of Jordan.

    2. Observer*

      It’s a great line. I don’t know if I would deploy it here, though. With some people I might do that. But with someone like this, who already doesn’t get the concept of not being in people’s personal lives, I’m not so sure. They already showed that they can push, so I would hesitate to give them a chance to argue.

      1. cmcinnyc*

        I concur. Jordan is a Jordan person. Jordan comes before your mom, niece, spouse because Jordan.

    3. Phoenix Wright*

      That would only prompt comments such as “They won’t find out, I swear.” It’s better to say no outright. The more excuses LW gives, the more Jordan will look for workarounds and keep insisting.

      1. Kettricken Farseer*

        This. I’ve had to have a very uncomfortable conversation with my cleaning person because she didn’t understand why I said I can’t have her back in my house. She was very upset and claimed it wouldn’t be a big deal, and pushed back hard on me. I absolutely understand her need to work and make money, but that doesn’t trump my safety. I’m not even seeing family, let alone anyone else.

        1. schnauzerfan*

          We’ve got a similar situation. We’ve got in home care for my mother and or one full time caregiver is basically here or in her home. I trust her she’s being careful. We have also had other part time people who have other public facing jobs… and one of them was horribly upset that I won’t let her in the house. I’m still paying her and letting her mow or run little errands but she “misses mom” and didn’t take it well when I said, better to miss her for a while now than forever.

        2. Jojo*

          I hope you paid your cleaner even though you not letting her clean. She has to eat too. At least half.

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        Agreed. “No” is fine. “No, because…” invites debate and attempts at solving the obstacle.

  5. Caroline Bowman*

    ” Oh I really can’t. For various reasons, it’s really not a good idea”.

    1. Heidi*

      Yes, keep it short. Also, I would recommend not elaborating on the reasons. For some, giving “reasons” communicates that you really want to do it, but the “reasons” are holding you back, and they see it as an invitation to argue about how the reasons aren’t valid or to find ways to work around the objections. You need to communicate that you don’t want to do this in the first place. It’s fine to go with, “That isn’t going to work for me/us,” which doesn’t give Jordan as much to push back on.

      1. Sara without an H*

        I agree with keeping it brief and not offering reasons, as though the issue were negotiable. Say no, then follow with a quick subject change to something business-related: “I’m afraid that’s just impossible for now. What’s our status on Project Wombat? Do you want me to start on phase 2?”

    2. MistOrMister*

      What in the world???? I am not letting my own family in the house, nor am I going in theirs! I don’t think anyone at all can object if you use allison’s script. Even if you lived alone, you would have as much right to not have anyone in their house. I think being matter of fact about it and being clear that it’s not just Jordan, literally no one is allowed in, should be sufficient. The only way my manager would be getting in my house is if she broke down the door!! It’s bonkers that she even is making this request!

  6. Falling Diphthong*

    Jordan: You can’t come work in my house, even if you promise to stay in the next room.

  7. Veryanon*

    Letters like this make me very glad that there is an entire continent between me and my manager (she’s in California and I’m on the East Coast). Not that my manager would ever ask such a thing, because she’s a rational person who knows better.

  8. AdAgencyChick*

    Wouldn’t this be a good time to use the AAM classic of pushing back as a group? Not that I don’t think OP shouldn’t push back if she can’t get anyone else to join her, but I’m worried about this boss quietly penalizing anyone who isn’t enthusiastic about the idea. That’s harder to do if there’s a group saying no.

    1. kristin*

      At the very least, a conversation among the group would be a good idea. See if everyone has the same qualms. You can support each other in the face of the boss’ requests.

    2. Arts Akimbo*

      Yes. I feel really badly for poor Alex right now! Who will speak up for the Alexes???

  9. WellRed*

    Just say no. Full stop. If he persists, point to stay at home order. Blame your own spouse. Have the plumbing break down that day.

  10. KK*

    If Jordan thinks it’s OK to visit/work at coworkers houses, he might as well have everyone come back into the office bc the exposure will be the same.

    1. Rectilinear Propagation*

      From the letter, it sounds like Jordan is a “they”. LW made a point of using gender neutral pronouns.

      1. Naomi*

        OP used gender neutral pronouns for everyone in the letter, so I think it’s more “Jordan’s gender is not specified” than specifically “Jordan is nonbinary.”

        1. Observer*

          True. But the point here is that the OP was clearly trying to avoid gender. I don’t think it’s so unreasonable to respect that.

    2. AKchic*

      Jordan may not be in charge of that decision. It may be at the state level. Or it could be that Jordan manages their team, but the company is run by someone else and decided to shut the office down, maybe in another city or state.

      If there is an HR, they should be looped in.

  11. Ashley*

    This answer strength lasts while the order is in place and doesn’t help as much as distancing guidelines are lifted. Be prepared for more push back as stay at home orders are eased. At no point do I want my manager at my house and I couldn’t imagine trying to work while they were there. If you live with someone else WFH I would definitely use them as part of the excuse as to why this won’t work.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Once the order is lifted, you can continue to cite public health and say, “Sorry, no, I’m not having any visitors.” It’s not a debate. You’re not having any visitors, period.

      Someone on Twitter suggested another formulation I like too:

      “Ha ha, considering I’m not even letting family over, maybe I’ll take a rain check for after quarantine.”

    2. hbc*

      I had this conversation literally three hours ago (though I’m the one with more power in the relationship, which obviously makes things easier.).
      -“Hey, can I bring [relative] with me next time?”
      -“No, I’m sorry, we’re really trying to limit the number of people we’re exposed to.”
      -[does actual head count] “The governor says that we can have gatherings of [incorrect number] of people.”
      -“It’s not a legal thing, it’s about limiting exposure.”
      -“But I’m spending time with them outside of here.”
      -“It’s about levels of contact and probabilities, and that’s where I’m comfortable. If we need to reschedule or cancel because of [relative], I’m happy to do so.”

    3. Sparrow*

      Yeah, I was saying this elsewhere – I don’t think I’d cite the stay at home order at all for this exact reason. Personally, I’d probably make a joke about not liking guests even when we’re not in a pandemic, or about being an extreme rule follower, and not even give Jordan the chance to think, “I’ll just ask her again when the governor lifts the restrictions!”

  12. drpuma*

    “You can probably get our WiFi on our patio. I’m staying inside but I’ll wave at you through the window.” Jordan is not the boss of what’s safe and healthy for anyone else on your team (and the folks they share their home with!), full stop.

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      I’d avoid that. WTF Jordan will just want to come in to use the toilet or cool off or get a drink.

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I’ll defend my WiFi with my life. It’s woefully overpriced and the service quality is…questionable at best. You’ll take the password from my cold, dead hands.

    3. AKchic*

      Nope. Nuh uh.

      Jordan will “if you give a mouse a cookie” it until they are in the house and getting exactly what they want.

      Do not give Jordan your home address. Do not give Jordan the wifi password. Do not let Jordan know the general area of where you live.

    4. BadWolf*

      This is a fun visual, though. Boss hunched over laptop sitting on your patio furniture, squinting into the sun.

  13. Stormy Weather*

    Echoing what is already here. Someone needs to draw a boundary for Jordan. I’m sorry Alex wasn’t the one to do it. This needs to be handled straight on. If Jordan needs time away from his spouse, tell him to take up a solo exercise activity like biking.

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      If Jordan needs time away from his spouse, tell him to take up a solo exercise activity like biking.
      This is so much it.
      And yet it leads me to believe that Jordan doesn’t need a break from spouse as much as spouse needs a break from Jordan. Jordan probably cannot even fathom solo activities. Spouse is probably suffocating. I’d wonder if there is a letter in the Agony Aunt columns from spouse talking about Jordan dragging them all around during quarantine and not being able to say no to everything.

      1. kristin*

        That’s kind of harsh. Wanting to spend time with someone other than their spouse is understandable, especially since OP seems to think their marriage isn’t a great one.

        1. Arts Akimbo*

          Wanting to is understandable. But boundary-pushing their presence onto others during a quarantine? That’s what is making people think that Jordan is likely not great with being alone.

        2. Hey Karma, Over Here*

          I think wanting to spend time away from one’s spouse is understandable and quite healthy, no matter what the dynamic. This isn’t the issue. Jordan doesn’t want time to do things alone, Jordan wants to have the time that spouse can’t/won’t spend with them to be filled with someone else and is pressuring employees to fill that need.

  14. Trek*

    Perfect example of someone who takes the lack of a no as a yes. Alison’s response is great and I would use it but keep this in mind for other requests, without a firm no it will be interpreted as a yes. Also remember this is not the type of person you want in your home- boundary violating, oversharing boss roaming your home for hours!

    1. Jojo*

      Boundary push supervisor trying to move into your home and take it over because things are bad at her home.

    1. old curmudgeon*


      I just absolutely live for Alison’s initial comments in response to letters like this one. The details and the scripts are great, too, of course, but reading “WTF, Jordan?” makes me spit coffee all over the keyboard.

  15. Florp*

    Isn’t the manager going to employees’ homes during a state-mandated stay-at-home order a liability for the company? I feel like HR/Jordan’s boss would be really unhappy to know this was going on.

  16. Free Meerkats*

    It sounds to me like someone needs to let Jordan’s manager know she’s pushing this on her group. Provide copies of all chats/emails/message/texts for context.

    But you need to also be OK with Jordan getting her panties in a bunch. You’re an adult and saying “No” is a needed skill.

    1. 867-5309*

      I wouldn’t want my boss coming to my house even if there WASN’T Covid or a stay-at-home order in effect. What the heck.

      I had the some idea as Free Meerkats – at some point you need to speak with Jordan’s manager. You could use language such as, “There is blurring of personal and professional boundaries.” This isn’t asking her to be fired, it’s asking her manager to step-in to coach and provide feedback.

      1. Granger Chase*

        Jordan is definitely in need of remedial management training. Their boundaries have only gotten worse since Covid. If LW wants to bring it up to Jordan’s manager I would bring up that it’s a pattern of boundary crossing so that it would hopefully be dealt with properly and not just as a one-off.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*


        I can’t believe I had to scroll this far to see this.

        Having my boss to my house sounds like an absolute nightmare. I don’t like having anyone in my space.

        1. The Rural Juror*

          I started to comment in a post above, but then started scrolling to see if anyone had said anything…and it took a while to get to you guys. I’m in total agreement. You can’t come to my house! Health concerns aside, it’s just way over the line.

          I’ve been to my boss’s house, but only because he hosts a holiday/end of year dinner for the whole company (small company – employees + significant others, and that’s still only 16 people or so). He has been to my driveway once to pick me to go to a meeting several hours away, but only because it was on the way and the office is in the opposite direction for me. I can’t imagine he would EVER insist on coming into my home. Wow, just wow. Jordan is way out of line.

        2. The Original K.*

          Right! This was my first thought! Even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, I don’t want to hang out with my boss in my home! Why are you here, Boss? What do you want? To hang out? Nah, you need to go home.

      3. I'm just here for the cats*

        Same here. I would never want my supervisor in my home. I would be over analysing everything in my house. This is not good at all.

        Maybe if there is a library that has expandee their WiFi to outside LW can tell Jordan to go there?

      4. kristin*

        This needs to be said to Jordan first. “You’re my boss, so I don’t feel comfortable having you at my house like that.” I’m not sure if the group has pushed back on Jordan’s apparent assumption that they’re all just a group of friends, rather than Jordan being the boss of a team. That’s something that has to be addressed. Yes, going straight to their boss or HR is an option, but I’d hate for Jordan to get blindsided like that. That would hurt the team in the long run.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      You’re an adult and saying “No” is a needed skill.

      Yes, this. I keep thinking we’re all gonna have different boundaries after this is over.

    3. Sara without an H*

      I don’t think I’d go over Jordan’s head as a first response, but rather try setting a boundary first, then see what happens. If Jordan escalates, then yes, go to Grandboss or HR.

      And OP should definitely be documenting this correspondence and other Jordan-related weirdness. My motto has always been that it’s better to have documentation and not need it, than need it and not have it.

      1. 867-5309*

        I suggest going to their manager because Jordan has continued to show issues with managing personal-professional boundaries. It’s an ongoing challenge for the team and based on OP’s note, there are ramifications (Jordan takes “rejection” personally) to them attempting to push back too hard.

    4. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Given what the LW has said in the comments, I don’t know that going to Jordan’s manager will help at all. If Jordan’s manager is as boundary stomping as Jordan is, which is what this whole company sounds like, LW’s going to be the one looking like the unreasonable outlier (which you’re not, LW, you’re just not).

      In this case I think just holding the line of “we’re not having any visitors right now” and planning to job search once that’s possible is probably best.

  17. Naomi*

    If Jordan isn’t taking the stay-at-home order as sufficient reason, this might be a good time for the “act like it’s your own weird quirk” strategy. “Oh, my household is observing very strict quarantine to be on the safe side, so we’re not having any visitors.”

    (Jordan is being obtuse here in multiple ways–quite aside from the public health risk, most people do not find it mood-lifting to have the boss pay a visit!)

    1. Marillenbaum*

      Exactly–because Jordan’s desire to escape their marital woes isn’t just endangering the employees, but their households as well. Not cool, Jordan! Very not cool!

  18. JerryLarryTerryGarry*

    Why not suggest she work out of your office? The other four of you work from home, social distancing maintained.
    As for your home, say you don’t have enough space for that to be safe. Then apologize, say it just won’t work, rinse, repeat.

    1. Lynn Whitehat*

      Yes, that is what I was thinking. My employer is going to start letting a few people go back in if they are really struggling to WFH. If it’s only a few, they can easily maintain social distancing. It would make way more sense to use the space that *was already made for working in*, than to work from a subordinate’s home.

  19. House-Elf Liberation Front*


    I wouldn’t want my boss coming over ANY time, let alone now! S/O & I are lucky enough to have a house big enough to where we have space to work, but how awkward would it be for one of us to work upstairs in the bedroom, the other hosting a meeting in the computer room, with the boss on a conference call at the kitchen table, all the while the dogs are losing their minds because YAY NEW FRIEND.

    OP, any chance you can blame lack of space? Spotty wifi that can’t support numerous people all trying to use it? Dogs aren’t comfortable around new people?

    1. Artemesia*

      Excuses are opening rounds in an argument; no, quarantine is all she needs. Excuses are made to be countered.

    2. Paulina*

      I’d go for “no, that wouldn’t be compatible with my home routine.” Just to cut off it happening once quarantine lifts. Especially since some places are lifting quarantine rather sooner than they should.

      Seriously, it took me significant adjustment to get into a work-from-home (and everything-from-home) routine, and adding anyone else to the house simply would not work.

      Or simply “No, that won’t be possible.”

  20. Observer*

    You definitely need a firm and unequivocal no, with no explanations. Nicely, but no room for arguments. Let the others know you are doing this, and encourage them to do so, too. As Alison often says, there is strength in numbers.

    Assuming that your team is not the whole company, you are almost certainly covered by the NLRA, so even if Jordan gets into a snit about you “ganging up” on them, if HR is at all competent, *HR* will recognize that that’s just too bad.

    Also, if you have reasonably competent HR, or Jordan’s Boss or Grandboss reasonably competent and sensible you might want to loop one or the other in on the whole thing. The kind of boundary crossing you mention in the beginning of your letter is bad, but not so bad that you need to do it. But when it comes to basically pressuring staff into disobeying public health orders and taking unnecessary that becomes a whole other level and does merit kicking upstairs.

  21. Sleepy*

    WTF! This would be a really inappropriate request even ABSENT the quarantine!! And with the quarantine, it’s insane.

      1. OOOFSTER*

        Yeah, I had my boss invite himself over to drop off papers and it comes down to this on a professional and personal basis- VERY RARELY is it acceptable to invite yourself to another person’s home (or event!).

  22. Nicki Name*

    This sounds a bit like a coded request for escape from a bad domestic situation. Maybe if Jordan says something about getting away from their spouse again, suggest domestic violence resources appropriate to your country/region?

    1. Littorally*

      Hm, that’s an interesting angle. And if it isn’t the situation and Jordan is just playing the unfortunate old ha-ha-I-hate-my-spouse chestnut, suggesting DV resources might be a wakeup to how it’s coming across.

    2. Laura H.*

      Even if it is, that’s not OP’s job. Coded messages may not get properly decoded OR decoded in time to get help with the proper urgency.

      In this case I think the DV angle should only get acted on if Jordan explicitly says so. (Or not one of the primary conclusions I’d get to or even consider for more than half a minute.) Jordan has work boundary issues as an established pattern according to OP.

      As it stands, it’s a request to violate the stay at home order and not a thing more. Not all cries for help have to be explicit but unfortunately I think the bar here is a bit higher because of Jordan’s past behavior…

      Not a good situation.

    3. Observer*

      I think that this ia very big jump, and one that is not supported by their behavior.

    4. Koala dreams*

      Yes, if Jordan makes another mention of marriage problems, it’s fine to say: “I’m not the right person for this conversation”. If you want, you can mention domestic violence resources, or you can just stay at “I can’t help you”.

  23. Jedi Squirrel*

    No need to blame it on anyone else, I think. Jordan and OP would be breaking the freaking law.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        Nope. If I get caught speeding, it’s my fault. I don’t go blaming my state legislature who wrote the law and my state governor who signed the law.

        1. Courageous cat*

          … they mean blame the state’s governor as to why Jordan can’t come over. “Sorry, governor’s orders”

  24. TootsNYC*

    Maybe Jordan will get upset! You have to be okay with that possibility — because otherwise you are choosing to give into an unreasonable demand (and frankly, emotional manipulation) over your own health and safety. People do that all the time (in fact, people sometimes get hurt and even killed because they do that), but it’s usually harder to do it when you clearly see that those are the two choices you’re picking between.

    Did you know that Jackson Pollack killed his mistress’s friend in the drunk driving accident that also killed him?

    As they were leaving the restaurant, the friend did not want to get in the car because Pollack was drunk. The mistress pressured her to do so because Pollack would get mad if she didn’t.

    She died.

  25. MadtownMaven*

    “I understand you need to get out, Jordan. You can rent a workspace or an apartment. You’re not coming over to my house.”

    1. Marny*

      If Jordan just needs somewhere to go, Jordan can even go work at the office since the rest of the employees aren’t there.

      1. valentine*

        You can rent a workspace or an apartment.
        I wouldn’t give Jordan suggestions. This could leave OP feeling obliged to say yes unless they can provide a Jordan-approved alternative, when OP wants less, not more, involvement.

        I am wondering if Jordan has zero non-work contacts.

    2. ...*

      But no one actually talks to their boss this way. Just say “I’m sorry but that won’t be possible” and “I’m afraid it just won’t work. Its really not possible for me” forever and ever.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yup. No fight-picking or snide hinting about Jordan’s homelife. That’s not OP’s business. Just “no, sorry, I can’t have people over.”

  26. Keymaster of Gozer*

    An Englishwoman’s home is her castle…and at the moment every wise person I know has the drawbridge up. Nope, nobody is getting in who doesn’t live here.

    I feel dreadful for people who are in relationship or household problems because of this. Seriously. It’s got to be hell to be locked in a house with someone you can’t stand. It’s still perfectly okay, as an outsider or staff member to say “I’m sorry, but nobody is entering my home right now.”

    When I’m stressed out at this isolation I like to take the car for a drive. No stopping anywhere, just me and some music. Could your boss go somewhere in a car and work remotely? Just to get out of his immediate stress without putting others in danger?

  27. CatPerson*

    It’s amazing how clueless people are. My good friend invited my husband, who has a lung condition, and me over for a cocktail–we BYOB and snacks, we stay outside 6 feet apart, etc. Husband is not comfortable doing non-essential things until we see where this goes over the next few weeks now that people are out and about. he was OK with me going, though. Long story short, she got pissy and uninvited me. Now radio silence.

    If he gets COVID, he could very well die. She knows this.

    1. BC Lower Mainlander*

      Not a good friend. I hope your friend realizes how selfish/clueless she was being and apologizes to you and your husband.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      Sounds like friend is embarrassed at her own idiocy, and therefore mad at you for pointing it out. And also like maybe she’s already argued with someone about this, like her own spouse?

    3. allathian*

      I don’t understand why she was so keen on having your husband there anyway? I mean, your husband was OK with you going, you would have been comfortable going without him, and if I understand you correctly, she was more your friend than your husband’s friend.

      With friends like these… Honestly, radio silence is probably better and if the friendship is over, so be it. She sounds either immature or inappropriately interested in your husband, or both.

  28. HermitCrab*

    I’ve got two roommates and one is an essential worker. He wants to start having our cleaning lady come over to do her thing and I just don’t get it. We’ve flattened the curve (somewhat) but nothing has changed since last month to make things safer for her or us. I’d rather just mop my own floors than worry more. (I realize this is a super first world problem, but you can’t necessarily tell a roommate fait accompli they don’t get their way).

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      So your roommate wants to double the risk to the household? Because he’s bringing risk home, and now he wants a second person to bring risk to you. I’d be against that too. (And I say that if he totally completely insists, he pays the entire cost. Possibly for as long as you still live there!)

  29. XF1013*

    Since Jordan has boundary issues, I’d also be prepared for the possibility of Jordan showing up unannounced at your door, asking to come inside. Have a response ready and stand your ground.

  30. em*

    Even if you don’t formally push back as a group, it would be good to let your team know you plan not to let Jordan visit you and support them in doing the same. And let Alex know they don’t have to keep saying yes just because they did the first time! Because if everyone else refuses Jordan’s self-invites, they’ll definitely keep trying to hang out with Alex.

    Alex could make any number of excuses to avoid a repeat. “I really want to be supportive but I’m just not comfortable violating the stay-at-home order again.” “I felt a little flustered last time you asked but in retrospect I don’t think it’s great to disregard CDC guidelines.” “My mom was upset to find out I broke quarantine and I don’t want to worry her.” “I read an article the other day about (scary Covid thing) and it really motivated me to take safety measures more seriously from now on” etc.

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      This is really important and I’m glad you brought it up. It’s definitely worth mentioning to the rest of the work group, and especially Alex. Alex shouldn’t have to keep putting their health at risk just because they already said yes once.

  31. Sabine the Very Mean*

    I come from a school of thought that it is always impolite to invite yourself over to anyone’s home or into anyone’s event. When it happens to me, I’m always so shocked that I cannot come up with a response. I’ve had friends invite boyfriends on vacations, invite plus-ones to my holiday events without asking, and those who call to ask “are you home” only to discover they are on my front stoop. I have never understood folks who invite themselves.

    1. allathian*

      Me neither! The only time I’ve ever done that is when I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, when kids would habitually go from door to door to ask if the kid in the house could come out and play. Or when I was interning in Spain in the late 90s before cellphones became affordable, and I didn’t have a phone and neither did most of my interning acquaintances/colleagues/friends (unless they lived at home with their parents and had a landline), certainly not the other international interns. After work, we’d go to each other’s houses to make dinner together or just to talk.

  32. Mannheim Steamroller*

    Is Jordan one of those “Mad Men era” bosses who invite themselves to underlings’ homes and expect a homemade gourmet meal?

  33. Jill*

    I don’t think I’d let a manager work in my house in general, I’d go work in theirs if it was the only option (assuming no COVID), but not my own. Even if they brought their own food and drink or whatever, the idea that you’d have to “host” your manager during work is a little weird for me.

  34. BRR*

    I actually don’t agree with Alison’s answer. It doesn’t not work, but it leaves space for Jordan to argue and citing the stay at home order and “yet” makes it seem like this could be an option in the future. I’d probably go with “I’m sorry but I’m not going to be able to do that.”

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      But the request is based on the current situation and stay at home orders. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to blame the pandemic. Why would Jordan ask to come work at one of their houses if they were all back in the office? If Jordan crosses other boundaries in the future, you deal with it in the moment. If they ask to crash on their couch because their arguing with their spouse, you say no, it’s inappropriate.

      1. BRR*

        Oh I definitely think blame the pandemic. My train of thought was what if the stay at home order is lifted or loosened but the office is still closed? You could say ” I’m sorry but I’m not going to be able to do that because of the pandemic.” I think it’s better to start of with that then to have different excuses as the situation evolves.

  35. Koala dreams*

    In addition to all the other suggestions, a cheerful “No, thanks” is also appropriate. It would be a favour to society if you explained about the quarantine to Jordan, but if you aren’t interested or don’t have the energy, it’s okay to go with the simple and polite answer. It improved my life so much when I learned to say “No, thanks”.

  36. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    It is NOT your job to manage Jordan’s emotional response. This is where people get themselves into manipulative situations. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel bad, but when you’re dealing with those that have no boundaries, it’s okay to push back and say no. And if they get their feelings hurt, as long as you’re not mean or rude about it, that’s 100% on them.

    Alison’s response is perfect. You don’t need to go into a long explanation or make excuses. State the facts and don’t back down.

    1. Traffic_Spiral*

      “And if they get their feelings hurt, as long as you’re not mean or rude about it, that’s 100% on them.”

      That’s a policy for an acquaintance you don’t like. When it comes to your boss, it’s naive. Whether you morally consider their anger to be 100% “on them,” the fact that they’re your boss means they can and will find a way to take it out on you, so you actually do have to learn to manage a little.

  37. LadyofLasers*

    Not a suggestion as much as a question: would there be any benefit of ‘returning awkwardness to sender’, and CA likes to say? Basically calling Jordan out on the awkward power dynamics of his request: ‘Jordan, I’m sure you don’t realize it, but you’re putting us in an awkward situation by asking this of us. You’re our boss, and when you ask us to do something that doesn’t feel safe, it’s hard for us to feel comfortable pushing back even if we want to.’.

    I get the sense that Jordan is more clueless than malicious and that it honestly hadn’t occurred to him that asking his employees would be different then asking a buddy. I definitely wouldn’t try this if I got the sense he was throwing his weight deliberately. But, could this directness work here, and be worth it?

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      This would be a FABULOUS response if LW was in a larger or more corporate setting where this kind of WTFery would be hugely side-eyed by literally everybody. But in this case it sounds like LW is employed by a fairly small company where ‘everybody is family’. LW mentions that company owner will stop by your desk if you’re feeling off, and that everybody is involved with everybody else’s business. In this situation, the bosses/Jordan probably don’t even think of themselves in a professional context with these people, like “Oh these are my subordinates I shouldn’t ask this of them.” More like “My good buddy LW who I work with and hang out with all the time”.

  38. TotallyNormal*

    “It’s enormously helpful for your quality of life to decide it’s okay if people are sometimes disappointed or upset, as long as you stand by your own actions.”

    I need to frame this somewhere and remind myself of it daily.

  39. MissM*

    > WTF, Jordan?

    Alison said it so perfectly, as always. I also think that pushing back on this will help strengthen your resolve to not deal with Jordan’s boundary pushing in general for outside of work activities, once we’re able to safely get back to that sort of thing.

  40. partybear*

    I’m slightly uncomfortable that my boss has a general idea of the area where I live… let alone come to actually visit… during a pandemic.

  41. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    I really wish people would remember that the word ‘No.’ is a complete sentence. You do not need to justify your decisions, thought process or beliefs to anyone. But then again, not everyone is as upfront and out of f&*ks as I am. In this case perhaps Alison’s tried and true method of “laughing it off because it’s so ludicrous that you couldn’t possible be serious” would work? As in”Haha, Jordan you’re so funny, that’s such a crazy idea. Can you imagine asking employees to host their manager in their home for a full workday?”
    Or if Jordan insists that it would be good for bonding or team morale, “Jordan why don’t you see what (Jordan’s boss’s name) thinks of the idea? Maybe *they’d* like to have you over.
    I also have questions about what exactly the letter writer is supposed to provide when Jordan is over? Like is LW responsible for providing lunch? All day beverages? Making sure the other people in the house are quiet? Is Jordan expecting that LW will cede their work from home desk space? Seriously, WTF Jordan? just covers this whole thing so well.

  42. JSPA*

    If OP has any fears that Jordan or Jordan’s spouse are fighting to the point where it’s verging on abuse (regardless of whether Jordan is abuser, abused, or they’re both fully engaged in a joint interlocking death spiral) that changes the situation.

    Are there hotel rooms available, if they legit need a cooling off period to avoid becoming statistics?

    If so, suggest that to Jordan. “I checked, and if things are rotten enough that one of you just HAS to leave, I called Hotel Palm Villa, and they have rooms available, midweek rates, at short notice, and my cousin who stayed there said the WiFi is decent.”

    I mention this because there have been quite a few articles on soaring rates of domestic abuse, and because OP is already anxious about the level of enmity that Jordan and spouse show each other in public. That doesn’t mean it’s worse in private, but…often, it is.

    It may also help to bring up the guidelines for domestic violence “cooling off” that some governments are using, apropos of short visits vs longer, essential cooling off periods (or “leaving to seek aid.”) First, it will discourage these short jaunts; secondly, if there is an actual problem, it would broach the subject in a “natural” way.

    Just because someone is higher up the chain of command at work doesn’t mean they are safe from abuse. Just because someone is a specific gender (or agender) or their partnership is other than cis-het, doesn’t mean there can’t be domestic abuse.

    People have a lot of anxieties, pride, blinders, and cover stories around domestic violence; you can’t always tell when “I need to get away” legit means, “you don’t understand…I NEED to GET AWAY.”

    1. Observer*

      There is absolutely nothing in the letter to indicate that there is a DV situation going here. It is really NOT the op’s job to start figuring out what kind of resources are available for Jordan. It’s also highly unlikely that the OP will accomplish anything.

    2. Avasarala*

      That is a lot of work (checking hotel availability and so on) to do.
      I don’t think it’s right to use one’s position as a manager to lean on their subordinates and ask for something as unreasonable as “let me work in your house while we’re quarantining from a lethal pandemic”, even for a very good reason like escaping DV.

      If this is the case, Jordan needs to lean on friends, family, or their boss rather than people who can’t as easily say no due to the power imbalance.

    3. Courageous cat*

      This is a pretty huge overreach because there is nothing to suggest (and arguing is not “something” in this case) that this is going on, and it’s certainly not an employee’s responsibility to figure this out for one’s manager.

  43. Jennifer Juniper*

    Here’s what I say to people who get too close to me: “I don’t want to get you sick.”

    Cue the fearful eyes and the stepping back!

    I’m symptom-free so far. Technically, I could be asymptomatic for COVID-19, so I’m not lying.

    If Jordan is as sensitive as I think they are, that line should scare them.

    1. Filosofickle*

      Well, that’s what I said to my parents and they were all “we’re not worried, come over anyway” so…

  44. ...*

    This reminders me of a previous manager who wanted to fix team morale by hosting a sleepover for us. We did end up agreeing to a happy hour in her apartment, although, shockingly no one spent the night!

  45. Jessica Fletcher*

    Today I was shocked to learn I’m the only one on my team that didn’t go to a Memorial Day party! My manager, who has been giving us weekly updates on the death toll and grim outlook, even went to a party where some people didn’t wear masks, and he didn’t leave! One coworker, who used kleenex to touch door handles pre-COVID, traveled out of state (to a state with lax rules)!

    I just couldn’t believe it. I was stunned. You know what I did for Memorial Day? I grilled myself a hotdog and I worked on my garden in my own yard.

    1. Avasarala*

      I’m shocked as well. I haven’t left my immediate neighborhood in 2 months, haven’t seen anyone in person except my spouse.

  46. Big Biscuit*

    Does this Jordan have a supervisor? This is “BSC behavior”. It might be uncomfortable for the OP, but this does need to be escalated. It’s not ok and it’s demented thinking!

    1. allathian*

      It’s a small company that started as a family company, and they still seem to think of everyone as family. Escalating may not help.
      In the OP’s shoes, I would be looking for another job.

  47. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    Jordan has her nerve. Inviting yourself to spend the day at someone else’s home to flee your spouse and get out of your own four walls? Even if it is work and not a friend dropping by. Even if she “asked,” her being the manager makes it a power imbalance that can make an employee reluctant to say no.

  48. Netto*

    Another option would be to already start saying how you’re not a fan of working taking over your home and can’t wait for a vaccine to be widely available so you can go back to work from the office. Clarify that you have a very small space specifically assigned for work and you don’t use it outside the working hours.

    Then when Jordan starts, you can tell them that you can’t have anymore work related people or things in your home for YOUR mental health. Say this in a tone of i sympathize, but i need to take care of my mental health, and of course you understand that. If they want to be “family” then they need to equally care about you as well.

  49. Always Learning*

    THIS: “It’s enormously helpful for your quality of life to decide it’s okay if people are sometimes disappointed or upset, as long as you stand by your own actions.”

    I needed to read this today. Thank you.

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