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Is This the Craziest ‘Ask a Manager’ Question of All Time?

Ask a Manager is the go-to advice blog for people who are dealing with trickier-than-normal workplace conundrums.
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Ladies’ Home Journal via Wikimedia Commons

Got a coworker who’s making you watch her kids? Forced to wear a dunce cap at work when you don’t make your goals? Got a boss who’s so rigid, he won’t even let you attend your own college graduation? AAM founder Alison Green, an experienced manager and gifted advice-giver, has insight. (BTW, and I can’t stress this enough: all of those hypotheticals are real questions that Green has answered in the past. They’re among her roundup of the weirdest posts of 2016, every one of which is worth your time.)

But now, perhaps, we have a post to top all those other posts. A recent reader question, entitled I ghosted my ex, and she’s about to be my new boss, brought to our attention by BuzzFeed, may leave them all in the dust.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The Short Version:

The reader, a math teacher at an international school, recently discovered that he was getting a new school director. The problem? The director, Sylvia, was a woman he’d been in a relationship with … and then ghosted.

His question:

I have no idea what to do and how to deal with this mess. It is clear this will be not only embarassing but I will also be reporting to my ex. I am not in a position to find another job at present. There are no other international schools so finding another job in this country is not an option. Even finding a job elsewhere is not possible on such a short notice. These jobs usually open for school terms so I have to stay put for few months. But more importantly, I am happy and settled here so do not want to move. To make the situation worse, the expat community here is very small and tightly knit so teachers also socialize a lot.

Do you have any suggestions for me how to handle it and what should I do? I understand that this would not have happened if I did not ghost her back then, but I cannot do anything about it now. I gathered from the comments that readers usually have a go on people like me for “bad behavior” but I am really looking for constructive comments how to deal with the situation.

But wait! There’s more. Green wrote back to determine how long the writer had been involved with Sylvia prior to ghosting. He replied that it had been three years. That’s right: three years.

“Like much of the internet, I’ve pretty much been yelling, ‘Holy #$%^’ and ‘What goes around comes around, a——!!!” since I read this,” writes Rachel Wilkerson Miller at BuzzFeed.

The Takeaway:

As always, Green’s reply is helpful, honest and as constructive as possible, given the (crazy) circumstances. If you’re somehow in a similar situation, definitely go check it out.

Hopefully, this experience will bring home to the writer that it’s a small world, especially once you’re entrenched in an industry. You have to assume that you’ll see every person you ever did wrong at some point in the future. Sometimes, they’ll even be your boss.

Bottom line: don’t be a jerk to people, and you’ll never have to worry that they’ll be doing your annual performance evaluation someday.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the toughest work dilemma you’ve ever faced? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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