Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Creepy Boss

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: a truly creepy boss.

Nicole: This piece of shit guy

I don’t even know what to SAY in terms of ADVICE

he will never be a good mentor to you

whoever said that Silence of the Lambs is actually about how hard it is to find a good male work mentor is right

it’s also a transphobic movie but that’s a different discussion

Danny: oh my gosh

the one ray of light here is that the fact that you say PTO makes me think your company is big enough to have an HR department

the other ray of light here is that you don’t have to “accuse” him of anything

his behavior has changed so abruptly and so obviously you can just discuss that

you don’t have to speculate about his motives

i mean, it’s 100% because he has a crush on you and is projecting

Nicole: Absolutely and completely

I wish we knew more about the size of this business

I agree that hopefully PTO suggests a place w an HR department, but I think your first move is to ask him why he turned down your PTO request

Danny: well i mean in practical terms, you can also schedule sick time if you have any

Nicole: And say you are unsure why your personal life has anything to do with your work relationships

It really varies so much by company

Some places you have just one bucket

some places they separate the two

Danny: right

Nicole: try to get this convo over email

you need to document all interactions going forward

Danny: if you HAVE an HR department, I’d say ask the question and then go straight to them

Nicole: unfortunately, if it’s not a large enough company that you can be reassigned to a new boss, this is not a great situation

Danny: right, ideally he would be fired, but that’s a dream scenario

Nicole: for sure

like this is 100% terrible behavior

just glaring obvious behavior

Danny: and it’s so obviously retaliatory

i don’t know if his new terseness extends to not giving you information you need to do your job

or if it’s just that he’s no longer acting as a mentor

if it’s the former, that would definitely be something to share with HR

Nicole: even a half-assed HR department which exists purely to protect the company’s interest does not want the liability he is opening them up to

Danny: right this is so classic

even a very sleepy HR department is going to sit up and take notice when they hear he called her having a boyfriend “misleading”

Nicole: if he’s enough of a fool to say you Misled him by not mentioning a bf

Yes precisely

Danny: what a fucking ASSHOLE, by the way

Nicole: Ideally you can get transferred elsewhere in the company and he’ll be reprimanded

he absolutely cannot be your boss

Oh I hate him

Danny: yeah, if there is no HR department, say, “I didn’t mislead you by not discussing my personal life at work, and I’d like to keep our conversations work-related. Can we do that?” and then start looking for another job

Nicole: I’m afraid so

Danny: This is not a salvageable working relationship because he does not actually respect you or care about your growth as an employee

He cares about maintaining some creepy romantic fantasy that you “ruined” by having your own life and thinking of him as a boss and not an exciting new potential lover

i’m so sorry! this is her first full-time job, it sounds like, and she says she feels sick

Nicole: Just awful

Danny: but yes, he is attracted to you and what’s way worse he’s trying to blame you for his horrible behavior and inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality

a boss who’s angry that their employee has a partner is a boss whose mentorship you do not want