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Thread: In complex relationships with boss.

  1. #1
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    In complex relationships with boss.

    [F 45] In messy entanglement with boss [M 42]; job, finances all intertwined and hanging by a thread.



    Iím a single mom, formerly a stay-at-home mom, who re-entered the workforce after my divorce. My decade long work gap is proving to be a large hurdle. (Iím lucky I look younger than I am, or Iíd be dealing with the age hurdle, too.) Iíve found only very low paying jobs without benefits. Even with my income, child support and spousal support combined, I am still poor enough to qualify for state health insurance and food assistance. Iím currently in graduate school (using student loans) hoping a masterís will improve my employment prospects and financial situation.

    A year ago, the father of my sonís best friend asked me if I would be interested in the office manager position at his small company. I politely declined because the work is not in my field, but also because I thought it would be awkward to work for a ďfriend.Ē He continued to bring it up whenever I ran into him and offered me things he knew I needed: a flexible schedule, the ability to work from home, use of a company car, plus the possibility of paying me in cash. Eventually, but with reservations, I accepted the job.

    I found out quickly that my role is company workhorse. I work 7 days a week, regularly doing the work of two people, and sometimes three people, since my boss takes frequent vacations lasting 4 to 8 weeks at a time. For all of this, I am paid $35,000 a year without any benefits. He pays himself 10 times this amount.

    I assumed he, like most small business owners, would be a hard worker. Heís not. He lucked into a niche market. The service he provides practically sells itself. A few of his investors have made comments to me about his laziness. I found out his last office manager quit after a year because she was sick of doing all the work for very little pay. She was at least getting monthly bonuses. Iím not.

    The company car he promised never really materialized and the ability to work from home vanished (unless you count bringing home paper work on nights and weekends). I even use my personal cell phone for all business calls. He did agree to give me a $2.00 an hour raise, but he sneakily switched me from hourly to salary, so I didnít get a raise at all. I asked him about it, but he told me it would all balance out.

    When my ex-husband (who also earns a six-figure income) threatened to take me back to court to lower child and spousal support, my boss began paying me partially in cash, but heís taxing it at his tax rate. This means Iím paid even less than before, just for trying to hang onto enough support money to help keep a roof over my kidsí heads.

    The office itself has become unsanitary. Although he knows I have an autoimmune condition, and that COVID still exists, he canceled the cleaning service. He now expects me to sweep the wood floors, ignoring that the carpet and restrooms, especially, require far more than a broom. I wonít even use the restrooms. I have a dust allergy and there is a thick layer of dust throughout the office, along with cobwebs and dead bugs. When I asked him to resume the cleaning service he said heíd wait until the next time they call him to ask if we want services. (!?!) I was infuriated the day he sent his kids to wait at the office while the cleaning service finished cleaning HIS HOUSE.

    All this stuff is bad, but there is also a decidedly darker aspect to his behavior, as Iíve come to realize he has been pretending to care about me in order keep me on board as the low paid workhorse he can take advantage of.

    He knows I havenít dated much since my divorce. I am actually very pretty, but also 40 pounds overweight, thus deeply insecure and reluctant to put myself out there until I lose weight. He is flirtatious with me and I think Iíve appreciated the attention because Iím lonely. Heís not handsome, and his personal hygiene isnít the best, but he can be charming and humorous, so there are times Iíve found myself attracted to him.

    More confusing, is that for the past year, weíve been having the kind of deep and intimate conversations people in romantic relationships have. (I realize now he has been faking this, trying to quickly manufacture a closeness so Iíd keep doing all the work.) Iíve never brought up the subject, but he has repeatedly made a point of telling me he is single and not dating anyone. Iíve always suspected this is a lie, though, because he puts all of his expenses on the company credit card and I can see numerous charges to dating sites, lingerie stores, florists, jewelers, restaurants and hotels. I just could never fathom (until now) why he was even bothering to lie to me about this. More than once, he led me to believe he was vacationing alone, but when he called me, I could hear a woman whispering in the background. This makes me think others are aware of the trick he has been playing on me. He probably gets a kick out of telling people that all he has to do is ply me with Starbucks and pretend to be attracted to me and Iíll work my ass off for him.

    Yesterday, I asked him to come into the office because I needed some help before deadline. He acted like this was a big hardship for him, and made excuses about probably getting tied up in traffic, then he abruptly cut me off when he got another call (probably his date for the night). Much to my surprise, he actually showed up at the office 10 minutes later (his date must have been running late,) but I was annoyed the second I looked at him. He was dressed up, in obviously new clothes. He had a new haircut and was freshly shaved. He smelled like cologne. He was distracted, hurrying through the work, making errors and texting someone the entire time, with his phone screen purposely angled away so I couldnít see it. He left after 20 minutes. On his way out, he told me to have a good weekend. I replied, ďYou, too.Ē He got a strange look on his face, possibly a brief flash of guilt, then mumbled something and left. A few minutes later, he called me to apologize for a mistake he made on a contract. In my best nonchalant, excusing voice I said, ďWell, youíre preoccupied...Ē Stunned silence and a long pause on his end, then an awkward laugh. About 15 minutes after that, he texted me to have a good weekend. I didnít answer and blocked him from my phone.

    How should I handle this situation? I am insulted and hurt. While I could never truly picture myself in a romantic relationship with him, I cared about him and foolishly believed he cared about me. I donít think I can stand to see his lying liar face again, but I desperately need the income. The job market is very poor where I live and I canít imagine another employer willing to pay me in cash.

    Do I even bother to confront him about any of this?

  2. #2
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    Having you been looking for another job? If not, why not?

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    Iíve been looking for work since COVID restrictions eased up, but I havenít received any calls. Admittedly, I havenít been looking as hard as I should be because I am exhausted from working so much. Next week I have a meeting at a job placement agency.

  4. #4
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    You need to get out of this situation.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Excellent. Just think of it as a paycheck until something else comes up. Scale way back on personal conversations with your boss.
    Originally Posted by Renee20
    Next week I have a meeting at a job placement agency.

  7. #6
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    Thank you, both, for your advice. I have to wrap my head around the fact that he is using me and I have to get out. Since Iíve been using my personal phone for all work business, I will have to unblock him, but I can limit our conversations to strictly business.

  8. #7
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    Well I think you were exactly right that you shouldn't work for a friend. Even if he was a nice guy, things could still get too awkward, with the flirtations and so on. However he is not a nice guy at all. He sounds like a terrible person and very self-absorbed and narcissistic. He is also very greedy, even though he sounds rich. It's ironic because rich people are often very stingy, despite having a lot of money. It's very clear he has plenty of money, which he only likes to spend on himself and he likes to cut other people short. He is your son's best friend's father so he is meant to be a friend. Despite that he treats you terribly. He doesn't care about your health issues, he takes advantage of you. He knows you are a single mother and you're struggling financially. Yet he overworks you for very little pay. He just uses you.

    And the whole flirting with you thing and lying that he's single is a whole new low. I mean maybe he is technically single and he's not officially with any of those other women. But it's clear he's a player. And what, he can afford to spend money on gifts, lingerie, flowers on women he's sleeping with but he can't even afford to pay you the salary you actually deserve? He cancelled the cleaning even though he knows you're sick but he orders it for his own place? Just mind boggling what a selfish jerk he is. And no offence but I doubt that he's romantically interested in you because of how poorly he treats you. I don't think he's actually into you or cares about you at all.

    I really think you need to get another job. Like literally any other job at all that's not this. Just say to your boss that you found something that pays better and that is your reason for quitting. You can still just be polite to him for you son but other than that don't interact with him outside of your son and his best friend.

  9. #8
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    Wow, Tinydance. Thank you for really breaking it down and pointing out how it is:
    ďJust mind boggling what a selfish jerk he is. And no offence but I doubt that he's romantically interested in you because of how poorly he treats you. I don't think he's actually into you or cares about you at all.Ē

    I never needed him to be into me. I donít even find him physically attractive, but I believed he was my friend and for a time I thought he cared about me. I was so wrong.

    The cleaning thing has always bothered me, but it never dawned on me how selfish and callous it is until I typed it all out.

    I know now I have to get out. Right away. Jobs are scarce where I live, but $35k isnít a huge hurdle to clear when job hunting and hopefully Iíll find much better.

  10. #9
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    Yes, start kicking that job-search into high gear.

    This isn't how employers should treat you, much less someone who was a friend. You can't go on like this.

  11. #10
    Silver Member LootieTootie's Avatar
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    Do what you are doing... keep searching and take the high road. This guy isn't a nice guy and karma is going to bite him in the you know what when you leave him to a way better employer.

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