Author Topic: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?  (Read 3464 times)

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mlmama

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Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« on: October 15, 2013, 11:09:44 AM »
Hello everyone! I've lurked for a while, and taken a lot of good advice from reading here. I now have an issue at work that I would like opinions on. I work for a trucking company overnights with a bunch of men. I love my job, the guys for the most part are respectful. I give as good as I get as far as  being treated like "one of the guys". The problem is the lead in the shop. We started at the same time, so there was a little new person kinship. He was having problems in his marriage  and vented to me quite a bit, also asking if it gets easier as they have only been married a short time while I've been with my SO for 8 years.  I hope that's enough BG for y'all. On to the issue. As his  marital problems got worse, he would sit and talk at me in my office for 30-45 minutes at a time while neglecting his job. I put up with it because  he seemed to be a nice guy.  What finally pushed me to go over his head is his calling my personal phone to chit-chat at 2am while I'm at work, and then asking me to call him and wake him up at 5:30 am to make sure he was up in time to go get his kids and go see his wife. (she's in rehab). I finally told our boss enough was enough. I'm not this guy's wife, gf, mother, whatever. When the boss spoke to him about it, he got angry with me. Right now, he only speaks to me regarding work, which is fine with me! If you made it through all that, was I wrong to go over his head once he stepped over a line I wasn't comfortable with?

TurtleDove

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 11:13:34 AM »
It wasn't clear to me whether you first asked the coworker to stop before going over his head.  If you did not, yes, I think you were wrong and rude.  If you did ask him to stop and he persisted, I would have informed him that if it didn't stop you would have to go over his head before actually doing so.  This situation is airing some dirty laundry and while it isn't your fault exactly you sortof made it everyone's business and it didn't have to go down that way.

Judah

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 11:15:26 AM »
I would have address it with my coworker first. Only when he continued the offending behavior would I have gone to his boss about it.  If you had never told him that his behavior bothered you, how would he have known to stop? 
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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SlitherHiss

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 11:17:30 AM »
I agree with Turtledove. You were right to want it to stop, but the first step needed to be telling your coworker that you found his actions inappropriate.

mlmama

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2013, 11:30:12 AM »
Y'all are right. I should have been more assertive and less worried about being nice to him. Instead of telling him to back off, I started asking him about the work he was supposed to be doing. He still made the hurt feeling comment of, "I see, you don't want me around", but it got him back out doing his job. I need to work on my spine some more.  :)

SlitherHiss

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2013, 11:36:02 AM »
As I see it, letting the person know they're bothering you is a kindness. If you ever face a similar situation in th future, try and remember that even if it's uncomfortable, it's a lot easier to be told "This is too close for comfort. I can't be involved in your personal life or take care of your schedule" than to be called in by a third party and told the same thing.

Goosey

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2013, 11:47:50 AM »
As I see it, letting the person know they're bothering you is a kindness. If you ever face a similar situation in th future, try and remember that even if it's uncomfortable, it's a lot easier to be told "This is too close for comfort. I can't be involved in your personal life or take care of your schedule" than to be called in by a third party and told the same thing.

Even worse, that third party was his boss. So, you essentially put him on report (which could affect his job on top of everything else) and embarassed him in front of his supervisor before you actually talked to him about limiting personal interaction. That probably came out of left field for him.

When he called you on your personal phone, that would be the perfect opportunity to say, "I'm not comfortable talking on my personal phone". When you felt he was distracting you from work, say "Well, I have to get back to work now. Talk to you later!"

You, by accepting his interaction quietly and supportively, built a personal relationship with him. Yet, when it became too much,  you put the blame firmly on his shoulders.

WillyNilly

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2013, 11:53:47 AM »
Y'all are right. I should have been more assertive and less worried about being nice to him...

It might help in the future to pause and think "is this a short term nice, or a long term nice?" as well as "is this being nice to me or to him?"
Because the situation wasn't really actually nice to him at all. You tattled on him so to speak and got him in trouble. So the short term nice of not telling him to stop bugging you wasn't the long term nice to him of keeping him the bosses good graces. And also... really was it just to be nice to him that you handled it this way? Or was this the less awkward easier way for you? After all you didn't have to have the awkward conversation with a friend, you didn't have to confront anyone, etc.

mlmama

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2013, 12:14:50 PM »
The thing with telling the boss is the tech and I were both friends with the boss before we started  So to me it was more of friend telling him to an an employee/employer type thing. I have found out from talking to other people that he has worn everyone down with his drama to the point of if he says "My wife..." they all suddenly have a lot of work that needs to be done right now!

SlitherHiss

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2013, 12:49:18 PM »
The thing with telling the boss is the tech and I were both friends with the boss before we started  So to me it was more of friend telling him to an an employee/employer type thing. I have found out from talking to other people that he has worn everyone down with his drama to the point of if he says "My wife..." they all suddenly have a lot of work that needs to be done right now!

I understand that what's done is done, but I have to say that's kind of a crummy position to put your boss/friend in.

EllenS

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2013, 12:52:08 PM »
The phrase you need is "that is not appropriate." or, slightly more kindly, "I'm not the person you should be talking to about this."

But for 2am on your personal phone? Trying to make you his wakeup call? Not appropriate.

As pp's said, it was unfair to report him before telling him directly.  Sounds like your whole company needs a refresher on the difference between work and personal relationships.  Once someone becomes your boss, you can't tell them things about other employees "as a friend" anymore.  It is automatically official, by the nature of their job.
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Goosey

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2013, 12:54:31 PM »
The thing with telling the boss is the tech and I were both friends with the boss before we started  So to me it was more of friend telling him to an an employee/employer type thing. I have found out from talking to other people that he has worn everyone down with his drama to the point of if he says "My wife..." they all suddenly have a lot of work that needs to be done right now!

Sorry, no. Once your friend becomes your boss, that's his primary roll - especially when you are putting a coworker on report for work-related issues. This wasn't a friend coming to say, "Hey, you need to back off, pal." This was a boss saying, "Hey, you know your coworker who encouraged your escalating interactions? She came to me and told me that you're making her uncomfortable even though she hasn't said anything to you. This is your official notice to stop." That's embarassing.

shhh its me

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2013, 01:08:44 PM »
The phrase you need is "that is not appropriate." or, slightly more kindly, "I'm not the person you should be talking to about this."

But for 2am on your personal phone? Trying to make you his wakeup call? Not appropriate.

As pp's said, it was unfair to report him before telling him directly.  Sounds like your whole company needs a refresher on the difference between work and personal relationships.  Once someone becomes your boss, you can't tell them things about other employees "as a friend" anymore.  It is automatically official, by the nature of their job.

I could be mistaking but I have the impression that he was calling OP personal phone but while she/he was at work.  Still inappropriate but less so then if he was calling while OP was not working.

I second 3rd...You cant have a friendly "vent" about an annoying co worker to your boss not matter how good of friend you and the boss are. It's always official. 

To the original question unless you are truly afraid you should always tell a person "stop" before reporting their behavior.

EllenS

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2013, 01:11:13 PM »
The phrase you need is "that is not appropriate." or, slightly more kindly, "I'm not the person you should be talking to about this."

But for 2am on your personal phone? Trying to make you his wakeup call? Not appropriate.

As pp's said, it was unfair to report him before telling him directly.  Sounds like your whole company needs a refresher on the difference between work and personal relationships.  Once someone becomes your boss, you can't tell them things about other employees "as a friend" anymore.  It is automatically official, by the nature of their job.

I could be mistaking but I have the impression that he was calling OP personal phone but while she/he was at work.   Still inappropriate but less so then if he was calling while OP was not working.

I second 3rd...You cant have a friendly "vent" about an annoying co worker to your boss not matter how good of friend you and the boss are. It's always official. 

To the original question unless you are truly afraid you should always tell a person "stop" before reporting their behavior.

Yes, but to me that just shows he had some awareness that it was beyond the bounds of work-appropriate. If he really was oblivious to all boundaries, he would have been calling her on the work phone.  The whole thing is a mess.
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Zilla

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Re: Was it wrong/rude to go over his head?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2013, 01:19:10 PM »
Y'all are right. I should have been more assertive and less worried about being nice to him. Instead of telling him to back off, I started asking him about the work he was supposed to be doing. He still made the hurt feeling comment of, "I see, you don't want me around", but it got him back out doing his job. I need to work on my spine some more.  :)


You don't have to tell him to back off but you can be direct like with a smile, "Hey, I have a lot to do and need to finish."  With his comment, "I see you don't want me.."  Just say, "We are on the clock and I have to work."  And at him calling you at 2:30 in the morning, I would have expressed outrage, "Please don't call me on my personal cell.  I don't use this for work." and hang up. 


If you had said this a few times THEN I would have gone to the boss.  But probably he felt like you "led" him on and then what seems to him without any warning, that you got him in trouble.  Not saying he is right, but that's the impression he is probably under.