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Boundary with Male Boss


Fluffymomo
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Hello. It’s me again. Few months ago I posted here seeking advices of how to deal with an corporate executive that I had a crush on and ended up realizing he was grooming me.. Ended up in a mess and left for a new job. In my current job, I also have a male boss and I am his only female direct report.
 

He’s married and in his 40s, I am in my 20s. At first I didn’t feel any weird vibes from him and actually really appreciate he’s supportive but also remains to be professional. However, I noticed his behavior has been a bit strange lately. He acts uncomfortable and even a bit shy around me when we are in office. 


He wouldn’t talk to me unless I approach him first for work related chat. But he would email/call me constantly when I am working from home for things that’s not urgent and can totally wait to email me.. Recently he start mentioning he’s calling me from the car or he’s going to his personal appointment etc.. which is very different compare to how distance he is in the office.

At first I was thinking maybe he’s shy in person but I see him interact pretty well with others and actually quite outgoing.
 

The mismatch behavior didn’t start when I first come onboard. But at the same time I know he has done a lot nice things for me in terms of getting me the resources to do my work. He also gave a lot of compliments on the work that I turned in. He showed an interest in my personal development..He even worked on my personal development plan on a Saturday morning when he totally doesn’t have to. Check all the boxes of being a good boss.
 

I enjoy working with him but I am also start feeling the situation has made me a little uncomfortable.. Still scarred from my previous experience. I want to have a normal working relationship with him but I now feel I can’t even have any personal talks with him without feeling awkward. 

Another thing I found strange was him would leave me alone pretty much for the whole day in office but as soon as I walk by his office to go to the downstairs garage, I will get a random email from him..it has happened few times I just think timing is very suspicious. I just don’t understand why he only wants to talk about work when I am at home but rarely when I am in the office? Today he called me three times today and each time for a good 40 mins.. And he’s not the micromanaging type so it’s even more bizarre 

 

How should I intereact with him moving forward. I want to be able to establish a good working relationship but I also don’t want to put myself in a position to be exploit again 

 

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I don't see anything to suggest he has a personal interest in you beyond being your boss. 

And maybe he's a bit annoying at times with the emails and calls, but again, it's all work-related. That's not unheard of with demanding bosses. 

Just continue to be professional, and be careful not to project a bad past experience onto the present. 

 

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So in your words he “checks all the boxes for a good boss” … so why not just assume that to be the case instead of second guessing his motives and making things awkward for yourself.

From what you said, I don’t see that he has done anything inappropriate. To clarify, though, are these calls out of hours or were you working from home?Either way, going forward, focus on doing your job and try not to read anything into his actions which don’t really seem to be out of the ordinary. 
 

 

Edited by Blue68
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2 minutes ago, Blue68 said:

So in your words he “checks all the boxes for a good boss” … so why not just assume that to be the case instead of second guessing his motives and making things awkward for yourself.

From what you said, I don’t see that he has done anything inappropriate. To clarify, though, are these calls out of hours or were you working from home?Either way, going forward, focus on doing your job and try not to read anything into his actions which don’t really seem to be out of the ordinary. 
 

 

Yes off hours and he emailed me on valentine’s night… Just curious if the awkward and shy behavior of him when we are in person.. He wasn’t like that at the beginning and was actually very confident in front of me.. Either way I think some healthy boundaries are needed.. I will probably stop picking up his call all the time..

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15 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

I don't see anything to suggest he has a personal interest in you beyond being your boss. 

And maybe he's a bit annoying at times with the emails and calls, but again, it's all work-related. That's not unheard of with demanding bosses. 

Just continue to be professional, and be careful not to project a bad past experience onto the present. 

 

I certainly hope it’s my overthinking but it’s just his tones and the way he spoke to me is very different when we are alone vs others around..

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2 hours ago, Fluffymomo said:

 I want to be able to establish a good working relationship but I also don’t want to put myself in a position to be exploit again.

Same as before. Be much more professional and date outside of work.

You're not being exploited and he's not being unprofessional. Stop crushing on older married bosses.  You're the common denominator in this. Get a more fulfilling life outside of work.

 

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6 hours ago, Fluffymomo said:

ended up realizing he was grooming me

Not what grooming is, you are not a child to be "groomed". He could do "mobbing" as in delibarately be bad to you in order for you to quit, or to use his position of power to demand sexual favors. Both are not grooming, its just bad or even criminal work activity. You have HR or even the law if something like that happen and you want to report. 

Anyway, unlike last one, I really dont see anything that bad. Unless he starts something innapropriate(like flirting or even demanding something bad), calling you to talk about work or even helping you in personal development is not out of the ordinary behavior. Its quite normal one. 

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I am very sensitive to all that stuff and you are overreacting and overthinking.  Do you want your married boss to find you attractive and want to hook up with you -would that give you a bit of a thrill? Do you like your work? Or is it a tad boring so you're distracted by your theories? He sounds like a person who contacts when the mood strikes him and he's not into doing a delayed delivery (I will do that sometimes - like if I'm working very late and would prefer that not be obvious, or if I don't want the recipient to get the impression I need a response after business hours,  I'll delay the time of a non-urgent email - it will still show the timestamp if you look but at least it arrives at a less odd time.).  

He's allowed to be shy and awkward as long as he is behaving professionally, getting his work done, giving you appropriate work and instructions, etc.  Want to know why? Because this is work.  It's not about your personal or professional development. If he is doing that that's icing on the cake -you're not entitled unless it was a condition for you to accept this job.  Get your work done. Contribute to your employer.  Be a team player- meaning work, not personally.  In the remotest possibility he feels awkward because he notices your attractive features (this happened to me with a male colleague -he was sooo cute that at times I'd avoid being face to face so I could remain professional) - in that remote possibility -know that it means nothing.

He is married and presume he is happily married to his wife who might not have as attractive features as you but presume he loves her, he is loyal to her, he sees you as a coworker, the end even if once in awhile he might notice to himself that you look cute and feel a bit awkward (I don't think it's that- just even if in some alternative universe that was the case)

You're going down a dangerous path of self fulfilling prophecy.  Get out of your head and know your place, know that your value is to perform the best you can to contribute to the employer -just like everyone else and if you feel your ego getting in the way cause it's kinda thrilling this married guy might find you cute- remind yourself you're utterly replaceable should you not perform or make waves.  

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6 hours ago, Fluffymomo said:

Yes off hours and he emailed me on valentine’s night… Just curious if the awkward and shy behavior of him when we are in person.. He wasn’t like that at the beginning and was actually very confident in front of me.. Either way I think some healthy boundaries are needed.. I will probably stop picking up his call all the time..

Why is he calling you outside of business hours? This is inappropriate. Is it about work? Yes, stop picking up calls outside of business hours. What did he email you about on Valentine’s Day? 

 

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Stop overanalysing everything your boss does or says. I have not read any inappropriate behaviour from your boss in your post.

7 hours ago, Fluffymomo said:

Recently he start mentioning he’s calling me from the car or he’s going to his personal appointment etc.

He wants to be efficient / he is multitasking. He is driving in his car and he wants to use that time to do phone calls. I have done that when I had longer drives on the motorway (always with hands free connection).

Stay professional, you are there to do your job, nothing else. Should he call you outside working hours, you don't answer the phone, unless you know there is something really important going on at work and he needs your assistance. At least that's what I would do in that case.

 

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I agree with the others. You are projecting, over thinking etc.

He may contact you in the office after you walk past his office, because seeing you reminds him of something he wanted to talk to you about. 

If he calls you after hours or on the weekend, don't pick up. Your free time is yours. 

During the business day, he is your boss. He can be pain in the butt as much as he wants.  Calling, occupying your time,  he is your boss. it's work.  If it becomes not work, as in 'you should come to my house' then there's a problem.

Many people multitask in the car, on the way to something and it's a courtesy to tell people that.  As in, "hey you might hear some noise from traffic, I'm in the car."

Most people make some personal comments here and there.  It's normal. People do have lives outside of the office. You don't have to share your own life if you don't want to. 

Maybe talk to a doctor about your previous experience. It could help you get your self trust and judgment back. 

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wow some of you really good at making accusations.. TBH, I don’t find him attractive at all and find this behavior kind annoying.  I didn’t feel any weird vibes and was able to interact with him just like any other male colleagues at the beginning., It’s only when he start acting uncomfortable, that I started to feel uncomfortable. He can’t even look at me in the eye when having an in person conversation..

 

anyways, I realize this is a complete waste of time posting here.. 

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

I am very sensitive to all that stuff and you are overreacting and overthinking.  Do you want your married boss to find you attractive and want to hook up with you -would that give you a bit of a thrill? Do you like your work? Or is it a tad boring so you're distracted by your theories? He sounds like a person who contacts when the mood strikes him and he's not into doing a delayed delivery (I will do that sometimes - like if I'm working very late and would prefer that not be obvious, or if I don't want the recipient to get the impression I need a response after business hours,  I'll delay the time of a non-urgent email - it will still show the timestamp if you look but at least it arrives at a less odd time.).  

He's allowed to be shy and awkward as long as he is behaving professionally, getting his work done, giving you appropriate work and instructions, etc.  Want to know why? Because this is work.  It's not about your personal or professional development. If he is doing that that's icing on the cake -you're not entitled unless it was a condition for you to accept this job.  Get your work done. Contribute to your employer.  Be a team player- meaning work, not personally.  In the remotest possibility he feels awkward because he notices your attractive features (this happened to me with a male colleague -he was sooo cute that at times I'd avoid being face to face so I could remain professional) - in that remote possibility -know that it means nothing.

He is married and presume he is happily married to his wife who might not have as attractive features as you but presume he loves her, he is loyal to her, he sees you as a coworker, the end even if once in awhile he might notice to himself that you look cute and feel a bit awkward (I don't think it's that- just even if in some alternative universe that was the case)

You're going down a dangerous path of self fulfilling prophecy.  Get out of your head and know your place, know that your value is to perform the best you can to contribute to the employer -just like everyone else and if you feel your ego getting in the way cause it's kinda thrilling this married guy might find you cute- remind yourself you're utterly replaceable should you not perform or make waves.  

Wow talking about double standard here.. And No his behavior actually  has directly impact our work communication. We are all adults here and at the end of the day business is business. I will never avoid to someone or communicate with them because they have “ cute” feature.I think you sound really dramatic and as a matter of fact could probably use some professional help. Don’t see how I am going into a dangerous path if I am asking advice to keep a professional boundaries.

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55 minutes ago, Blue_Skirt said:

Stop overanalysing everything your boss does or says. I have not read any inappropriate behaviour from your boss in your post.

He wants to be efficient / he is multitasking. He is driving in his car and he wants to use that time to do phone calls. I have done that when I had longer drives on the motorway (always with hands free connection).

Stay professional, you are there to do your job, nothing else. Should he call you outside working hours, you don't answer the phone, unless you know there is something really important going on at work and he needs your assistance. At least that's what I would do in that case.

 

Find it quite shady that you feel the need to tag my past post to make a point. And guess what that guy did try to connect with me after I left the company. My gut feeling was right. Sick of this double standard in our world today that women is always the party to blame no matter who’s the instigator. Hope this doesn’t happen to your sister, your daughter or any women in your family 

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Stop and self reflect a bit.

 

Is it possible you are attracted to this man? And, thereby looking for signs of mutual attraction?

 

None of what you describe indicates to me that he is crossing the line and seeking a relationship with you.

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Fluffymomo said:

Find it quite shady that you feel the need to tag my past post to make a point.

What do you mean with "tag my past post"? Do you mean that I quote a part of your post? What is shady about that? I do that to explain my point. In fact I think it is a normal thing to say that you are call from your car, because as for example Lambert says, there may be back ground noises. Sometimes the cell phone coverage can be poor, so the sound may break away.

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1 hour ago, Rose Mosse said:

Why is he calling you outside of business hours? This is inappropriate. Is it about work? Yes, stop picking up calls outside of business hours. What did he email you about on Valentine’s Day? 

 

I call and email many people outside of business hours because the last time I worked at a place where people were strict about "business hours" was probably in 1990.  Now I do work at a place where people are more strict about it (see my delayed emails above) but there is never anything wrong with emailing or calling someone as long as it's not personal email or personal phone (unless it rings through to it as it does on mine) and as long as there's no expectation of a response in a non deadline situation. 

My male boss called me once at 7:30am.  I was on the treadmill.  He needed something urgent looked into.  Never questioned for a second why he was calling me before 9am.  I started looking into it while on the treadmill.  We spoke again about an hour later.  At least in my world there are no such general boundaries if work needs to be done other than individual boundaries or arrangements like someone is on leave (although when I took one day off for illness while pregnant I got a call to do an assignment.  I stayed close to my bathroom and did the work).  

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27 minutes ago, Whoeveriam said:

Stop and self reflect a bit.

 

Is it possible you are attracted to this man? And, thereby looking for signs of mutual attraction?

 

None of what you describe indicates to me that he is crossing the line and seeking a relationship with you.

 

 

 

Nope. Not at all. I talked about my promotion plan with him recently so I want to be careful to make sure nothing will get in my way

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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

I call and email many people outside of business hours because the last time I worked at a place where people were strict about "business hours" was probably in 1990.  Now I do work at a place where people are more strict about it (see my delayed emails above) but there is never anything wrong with emailing or calling someone as long as it's not personal email or personal phone (unless it rings through to it as it does on mine) and as long as there's no expectation of a response in a non deadline situation. 

My male boss called me once at 7:30am.  I was on the treadmill.  He needed something urgent looked into.  Never questioned for a second why he was calling me before 9am.  I started looking into it while on the treadmill.  We spoke again about an hour later.  At least in my world there are no such general boundaries if work needs to be done other than individual boundaries or arrangements like someone is on leave (although when I took one day off for illness while pregnant I got a call to do an assignment.  I stayed close to my bathroom and did the work).  

Too long.. don’t care.. whatever

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41 minutes ago, Fluffymomo said:

Find it quite shady that you feel the need to tag my past post to make a point. And guess what that guy did try to connect with me after I left the company. My gut feeling was right. Sick of this double standard in our world today that women is always the party to blame no matter who’s the instigator. Hope this doesn’t happen to your sister, your daughter or any women in your family 

There is no instigator.  He is not instigating. You're creating a fantasy in your head for some reason.  Figure out the reason as you seem to want to progress professionally.  Your overthinking will sabotage that if you begin acting out your overthinking and general negativity about "women" in the workplace. 

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6 minutes ago, Fluffymomo said:

Too long.. don’t care.. whatever

I see.  You just wanted validation that your shy awkward married boss must be hot for you because you are tracking when he calls you about work.  Hyperfocused so that shy and awkward must mean that he's into you because you're younger than his wife and you imagine yourself to be more attractive and interesting than she is.  You might end up "right" and going to HR but if you cry wolf too many times it's not going to be lonely at the top as they say because you're foregoing precious opportunities for mentorship, especially now when it's so hard to mentor virtually.

Keep professional boundaries by working on your life outside the office -whether you get into a hobby or become an avid reader or take long walks or socialize- having a fun fulfilling personal life will give you a healthier perspective and you won't have time to keep track of precisely what someone at work says or whether it's awkward or whatever.

Edited by Batya33
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