Facebook share
LinkedIn share
Google plus share
Twitter plus share
Give Advice
Ask For Advice
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33

Thread: Supervisor asked questions about co worker friends behavior..do I tell her?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    8

    Supervisor asked questions about co worker friends behavior..do I tell her?

    I work in a department of about 60 people. About a year ago, a woman named "Abby" started working for us and we've become very good friends. We text each other jokes and vent about work all day and it's been a fun work-friendship. Lately though she's been having a rough go of things and has been getting more and more frustrated with the job (as we are all). She's gotten very angry privately and vented to me several times about how much she hates the job. She particularly has a hatred for our direct supervisor, "Jessica". Jessica is someone who I've known for about 15 years and we've never been particularly close, but she does rely on me for advice and shares her frustration with the job as well to me at work. She was thrust into the management role and has never particularly wanted it and, in both me and Abby's opinion, isn't really effective as a manager and makes questionable decisions. This is something me and Abby talk about a lot (although she's a little meaner about it)

    Last week, we had a situation where a co-worker decided to resign with no notice (just not coming to work or calling). This made the day incredibly difficult and Abby in particular had a really rough day looking visibly annoyed and checked out all day (not talking to anyone but texting her frustrations to me all day). I myself also had a bad day and had trouble keeping my cool as well. Abby and Jessica had an exchange where there was a misunderstanding about a task and Abby sent me a long text explaining her side of it and why she was upset. The next day, Abby was an vacation visiting family and Jessica asked me to finish the task that Abby didn't then this happened:

    Jessica: "Oh that's another thing, what's been going on with Abby? She seems really frustrated and checked out lately, especially yesterday. Is she happy here?"
    Me: "I'm not sure, yesterday was kind of crazy for me so I wasn't really paying attention. Did you ask her?"
    Jessica: "Oh I don't feel right doing that. i just know you guys talk so I wanted to know if she said anything to you or could you talk to her. I just don't want her unhappy"

    At that point I changed the focus to me and my frustrations with yesterday and she started complaining about how her day went. I'm not going to talk about my friend on her behalf and really felt as though it was inappropriate to do that

    So I'm wondering if I should give Abby heads up that this conversation took place. She's someone who gets very upset if people are talking about her when she's not around and I have a feeling it's going to make her frustrations with the job and Jessica all the more apparent. She's the type that will call in sick and text me to ask if people were saying anything bad about her. I won't see her again until Thursday and I would tell her then. I feel like as a friend she has the right to know what was said so she can know that her attitude was noticed by our Jessica. On the other hand, I'm afraid this is also going to cause her to be angry towards me for even being part of that conversation (I said as little as possible and changed subjects as quickly as I could) and she'll be thinking that I said more that what I did to Jessica. Abby is someone who is very guarded and doesn't let anyone in- but for some reason trusts me (and me alone) with all her thoughts and frustrations. I've seen her turn on people very quickly if she thinks they can't be trusted. I feel like NOT telling her would be a betrayal of trust. Very nervous about what to do..

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Cloud Nine
    Posts
    33,259
    Gender
    Male
    You answered the question perfectly. Keep doing that. Completely avoid office gossip and politics. Never answer a question such as this or get pulled into an unprofessional email such as this. Do not be the go between for these two. You and your job satisfaction will just end up as collateral damage.. You don't get raises or brownie points for undermining people even when they ask you to. Never strive to be the hub of bad news and interpersonal office wars.
    Originally Posted by icanhaz23
    Jessica: "Oh that's another thing, what's been going on with Abby? She seems really frustrated and checked out lately, especially yesterday. Is she happy here?"
    Me: "I'm not sure, yesterday was kind of crazy for me so I wasn't really paying attention. Did you ask her?"
    Jessica: "Oh I don't feel right doing that. i just know you guys talk so I wanted to know if she said anything to you or could you talk to her. I just don't want her unhappy"

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    2,738
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Did I say No? I mean No.

    Stay out of it. Do not tell Abby anything, and tell Jessica, the boss, that you know nothing, and put your head down, and do your own work.

    And stop texting Abby, or allowing Abby to vent to you, especially via text. You do not want to be attached to any of Abby's negativity, especially in writing.

    I know you're all smiles and hugs with Abby now, but she could just as easily turn on you, and share your texts with whomever she wants, and then you're in the middle of a bunch of stuff you don't want.

    Unless what you want is, unemployment.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    10,325
    Your job sounds miserable if this has got you feeling like you're toeing some line. If your super has a concern, she should bring it up directly with "Abby," not solicit gossip from you. Abby needs to grow up and accept that even for as unsavory as it can be, people are going to talk about her when she's not around. More importantly, she shouldn't make you feel compelled to report any conversations involving her while she's not around, nor should you particularly care to.

    Honestly, I'd start applying for other jobs and hope you can land yourself in an actual professional environment. Until then, do the work you're supposed to do, collect your paycheck, and if that much angers people for whatever reason, whatever. If I didn't know any better, I'd assume you all work in a college bookstore or something.

  5.  

  6. #5
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    1,324
    Gender
    Female
    You sound fearful more than anything. This is a job, not a merry go round or circus. Remain professional and expect professionalism from Abby. You might want to come clean with your boss and be clear that you've noticed the morale is very low in the office and this affects how the employees feel and the things they say which are often more negative than usual or more negative than the situation warrants (you do not have to disclose the details of what is being said). If your boss asks you for examples, you can provide examples without disclosing the identity of the employees involved and protect the privacy of those you work with. If she presses further you might want to be honest with her that doing so might cause you to feel it would create difficulties at work. Most people (not just managers) with half a brain can deduce what this means and read between the lines or manage accordingly.

    Managers rely on the feedback of their department. You don't have to disclose unnecessary details. Just be clear that the morale is low and it's putting a strain on everyone. I don't suggest you text your coworker-friend Abby as often and remain tactful. She's volatile and unpredictable. Unless she brings a lot of skills or talent to the job, she's easily disposable. Her job security is not your job. You should emphasize somewhere that you are dedicated to your position and the company in some way if you value your position.

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    8
    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    You sound fearful more than anything. This is a job, not a merry go round or circus. Remain professional and expect professionalism from Abby. You might want to come clean with your boss and be clear that you've noticed the morale is very low in the office and this affects how the employees feel and the things they say which are often more negative than usual or more negative than the situation warrants (you do not have to disclose the details of what is being said). If your boss asks you for examples, you can provide examples without disclosing the identity of the employees involved and protect the privacy of those you work with. If she presses further you might want to be honest with her that doing so might cause you to feel it would create difficulties at work. Most people (not just managers) with half a brain can deduce what this means and read between the lines or manage accordingly.

    Managers rely on the feedback of their department. You don't have to disclose unnecessary details. Just be clear that the morale is low and it's putting a strain on everyone. I don't suggest you text your coworker-friend Abby as often and remain tactful. She's volatile and unpredictable. Unless she brings a lot of skills or talent to the job, she's easily disposable. Her job security is not your job. You should emphasize somewhere that you are dedicated to your position and the company in some way if you value your position.
    Truthfully, I'm a top performer at the company and kind of have my hands in a lot of different projects. I'm also very friendly and get along with everyone so Jessica constantly uses and reaches out to me for things like that.

    As far as Abby goes, she kind of reminds me of me from 10 years ago. A lot of potential but a bad attitude and very defensive at feedback. This caused me to almost be fired years ago, but I grew up and changed my attitude. I see the same potential in her, but she doesn't seem very motivated to be there other than a paycheck and does the minimum to get by. I've worked with her to sort of calm her worst impulses (confronting co workers, leaving work early without telling anyone, calling out frequently, ect...) She's been looking for other jobs but no one ever calls her back so she feels stuck there. For some reason, I've been kind of a mentor to her and I feel a certain responsibility to help her even though I really don't..

  8. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    817
    Originally Posted by j.man
    Your job sounds miserable if this has got you feeling like you're toeing some line. If your super has a concern, she should bring it up directly with "Abby," not solicit gossip from you. Abby needs to grow up and accept that even for as unsavory as it can be, people are going to talk about her when she's not around. More importantly, she shouldn't make you feel compelled to report any conversations involving her while she's not around, nor should you particularly care to. .
    In MOST office jobs (and most jobs in general), you DO have to "toe a line", so to speak, it's a JOB!!!! If there's a job out there where you can behave however you want without consequences, I've certainly never had one of those. I also don't know where you think you will find the job where you will agree with every decision your direct supervisor will ever make. I've never had one of those, either. Even in the BEST of environments.

    I am a supervisor in an office and I can tell you- it is HARD. Especially in middle management, you get a lot of direct orders from above that you may personally disagree with, but have to carry out anyway. So some of the managerial choices you disagree with, may be coming from company protocol, and not from Jessica. It's hard to try to follow company rules, try and be fair to everyone, and manage in a style that suits everyone and have to make tough decisions left and right that you KNOW everyone will not agree with.

    I DO agree that if Abby is that unhappy, she should just leave and you need to stop texting venom NOW. Especially if you're doing it AT work, as this can absolutely be used against you. You and Abby are in the wrong here, not Jessica, from a company's POV.

    Supervisors often ask about fellow employees. This is actually VERY common and happens more than you think. It makes sense that if someone just quit, Jessica is going to feel protective and try and be proactive about others leaving. And if Abby has been acting this unhappy and not sharing that with Jessica- I can frankly completely UNDERSTAND why as her friend, she would ask you. I can tell you that she is WELL within her rights as a manager to ask this, especially if Abby is acting hostile at work (BTW, that alone can get you fired). In all honestly, I'd probably do the same thing in Jessica's shoes. There's nothing unprofessional about that. Jessica is allowed to ask and I can tell you- there's nothing illegal or unsavory or anything from a corporate POV that prevents her from doing so. Upper management would likely applaud her for being proactive. You don't have to answer, but you should cut out the negative talk NOW!!! And truthfully, if you think office employees don't ALL talk about one another behind each other's back, you are incredibly naive.

    My advice- You need to speak to Abby now. Tell her that if she is really that unhappy, she should consider looking for another job. Tell her you cannot engage with her in negative talk about Jessica, especially not AT work. You can say that while you also disagree with some of Jessica's choices, you are sure she is trying her best and that being a supervisor isn't easy and that every choice isn't going to be popular.

    Supervisors are PEOPLE, after all. I can tell you that I've had to make some tough calls. I've made mistakes! I've done stupid things that I've regretted. I've had to make apologies. And it's VERY easy to blame direct supers, but you NEVER know what orders that they are getting from THEIR bosses. DO NOT TELL ABBY THAT JESSICA asked about her!!! Just stop the negative chatter and focus on your work, then if Jessica asks you again, you can be honest in saying that you have just been focused on your work- which will look more honest if Jessica doesn't see you two texting back and forth all day long.

    And put yourself in Jessica's shoes for a moment- If you saw two employees texting all day long and one was acting really negative- How would YOU feel? And it's not even about personal feelings- in this day and age with all the office related shootings, you are EXPECTED as a supervisor to be proactive and vigilant about negative stuff and possible threats and disgruntled employees (Yes, this IS a thing now! We have managers meetings about this ALL THE TIME) . Hence, why Jessica asking is NOT wrong and even applauded- I'm just being honest with you. Besides all of this, and I have seen this ALL THE TIME- Many times people you think on your "friends" will turn on you SO QUICK!!!!! If you have a fight with Abby at some point, she could show Jessica those texts, and then guess who is fired? YOU! Or Abby could leave and take a scorched earth approach. Again, I have seen this time and time again- people ratting out former friends.
    Speak your piece to Abby, stop lambasting Jessica, and focus on your work.

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    8
    Originally Posted by redswim30
    In MOST office jobs (and most jobs in general), you DO have to "toe a line", so to speak, it's a JOB!!!! If there's a job out there where you can behave however you want without consequences, I've certainly never had one of those. I also don't know where you think you will find the job where you will agree with every decision your direct supervisor will ever make. I've never had one of those, either. Even in the BEST of environments.

    I am a supervisor in an office and I can tell you- it is HARD. Especially in middle management, you get a lot of direct orders from above that you may personally disagree with, but have to carry out anyway. So some of the managerial choices you disagree with, may be coming from company protocol, and not from Jessica. It's hard to try to follow company rules, try and be fair to everyone, and manage in a style that suits everyone and have to make tough decisions left and right that you KNOW everyone will not agree with.

    I DO agree that if Abby is that unhappy, she should just leave and you need to stop texting venom NOW. Especially if you're doing it AT work, as this can absolutely be used against you. You and Abby are in the wrong here, not Jessica, from a company's POV.

    Supervisors often ask about fellow employees. This is actually VERY common and happens more than you think. It makes sense that if someone just quit, Jessica is going to feel protective and try and be proactive about others leaving. And if Abby has been acting this unhappy and not sharing that with Jessica- I can frankly completely UNDERSTAND why as her friend, she would ask you. I can tell you that she is WELL within her rights as a manager to ask this, especially if Abby is acting hostile at work (BTW, that alone can get you fired). In all honestly, I'd probably do the same thing in Jessica's shoes. There's nothing unprofessional about that. Jessica is allowed to ask and I can tell you- there's nothing illegal or unsavory or anything from a corporate POV that prevents her from doing so. Upper management would likely applaud her for being proactive. You don't have to answer, but you should cut out the negative talk NOW!!! And truthfully, if you think office employees don't ALL talk about one another behind each other's back, you are incredibly naive.

    My advice- You need to speak to Abby now. Tell her that if she is really that unhappy, she should consider looking for another job. Tell her you cannot engage with her in negative talk about Jessica, especially not AT work. You can say that while you also disagree with some of Jessica's choices, you are sure she is trying her best and that being a supervisor isn't easy and that every choice isn't going to be popular.

    Supervisors are PEOPLE, after all. I can tell you that I've had to make some tough calls. I've made mistakes! I've done stupid things that I've regretted. I've had to make apologies. And it's VERY easy to blame direct supers, but you NEVER know what orders that they are getting from THEIR bosses. DO NOT TELL ABBY THAT JESSICA asked about her!!! Just stop the negative chatter and focus on your work, then if Jessica asks you again, you can be honest in saying that you have just been focused on your work- which will look more honest if Jessica doesn't see you two texting back and forth all day long.

    And put yourself in Jessica's shoes for a moment- If you saw two employees texting all day long and one was acting really negative- How would YOU feel? And it's not even about personal feelings- in this day and age with all the office related shootings, you are EXPECTED as a supervisor to be proactive and vigilant about negative stuff and possible threats and disgruntled employees (Yes, this IS a thing now! We have managers meetings about this ALL THE TIME) . Hence, why Jessica asking is NOT wrong and even applauded- I'm just being honest with you. Besides all of this, and I have seen this ALL THE TIME- Many times people you think on your "friends" will turn on you SO QUICK!!!!! If you have a fight with Abby at some point, she could show Jessica those texts, and then guess who is fired? YOU! Or Abby could leave and take a scorched earth approach. Again, I have seen this time and time again- people ratting out former friends.
    Speak your piece to Abby, stop lambasting Jessica, and focus on your work.
    I will say that I'm very tactful about my texting. She only texts when she's out of the department (we service the whole building and do not stay centralized in one location) and I only really text her back if I'm alone or if I go to the restroom. Most of the time it's just her texting me and I don't have large responses to it. Jessica has never seen us text because I never have my phone out in front of her.

    I do think Jessica has the best of intentions with this and just wants to keep people happy. I just feel like the two of them should have a talk and Jessica should initiate it- not me.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    1,324
    Gender
    Female
    Originally Posted by icanhaz23
    Truthfully, I'm a top performer at the company and kind of have my hands in a lot of different projects. I'm also very friendly and get along with everyone so Jessica constantly uses and reaches out to me for things like that.

    As far as Abby goes, she kind of reminds me of me from 10 years ago. A lot of potential but a bad attitude and very defensive at feedback. This caused me to almost be fired years ago, but I grew up and changed my attitude. I see the same potential in her, but she doesn't seem very motivated to be there other than a paycheck and does the minimum to get by. I've worked with her to sort of calm her worst impulses (confronting co workers, leaving work early without telling anyone, calling out frequently, ect...) She's been looking for other jobs but no one ever calls her back so she feels stuck there. For some reason, I've been kind of a mentor to her and I feel a certain responsibility to help her even though I really don't..
    Pick your battles. If you're not advancing in your career despite being a top performer, your over-involvement in the emotions or lives of others may be holding you back. I understand the mentorship aspect but it takes two. I think you are too emotionally involved and this is your downfall (you will find it very difficult to advance in the company as you are putting the needs/emotions of individuals before the needs of the company). This is the conflict. At some point you'll have to decide which you want to spend more time on. Your employees as a manager or boss one day should reflect the goals and values of the company. You seem to be emphasizing correcting emotions and emotional outbursts more than aligning yourself or the rest of the employees with the company goals and values. Your emphasis is on the emotions and mental health of an employee (which is important) but it's one employee out of many. It should also be paired or tempered/guided by the financial health and needs of the company in terms of staffing and human resources.

    It's admirable of you to want to mentor her but your mentorship seems to be veering a little off course. I hope you eventually see that and accept that you can't change someone that is not aligned with the overall picture. You also seem a bit paralyzed reliving your past and your previous life seeing Abby the way she is. You haven't moved past this. Have you asked yourself why?

  11. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    20,210
    Do not say anything.

    I would look for another job.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Give Advice
Ask For Advice

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •