23

I have a rather peculiar situation.

My wife and I have a couple who we are friends with, and recently the woman (let’s call her Jane) was hired in my company and works in my team (I’m her manager!).

Now Jane and my wife often socialize , with frequent shopping trips and lunches together. Now suddenly things have turned a bit sour between them and they had a few arguments, during which Jane also acted rudely and cut off all connection to my wife (Jane is a bit of an emotional cannon at times).

Now my wife is pissed off because of her behavior and I’m in an awkward position because I meet Jane at work and she acts normal. I also act normal since I don’t merge my professional and personal spheres of life. But it is terribly awkward since we don’t socialize with the couple anymore and deep down I feel that she owes an apology to my wife or at least they should clarify things between them.

I also feel angry at times that she used the connection with us to get the job but of course it was my decision to hire her and she is a qualified person for the job too.

Of course I as her manager can make it difficult for her. I don’t feel it is right as this personal issue shouldn’t come in professional domain. My wife agrees. But to be honest, I’m pissed off at this whole episode. Jane is seemingly quite naive to act as she likes and feel no obligation to apologize, knowing the link to her career.

Am I right to ignore Jane's rude behavior towards my wife at work even though I am in a position to guarantee this impacts Jane's career.?

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, BryanH, Rory Alsop, Dmitry Grigoryev, IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 4 at 13:52

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    To play devil's advocate here, is there any indication that she became friends with you to get the job and once she was safe in her position, she decided she no longer needs your wife as a friend? – Xander Apr 3 at 13:44
  • 116
    "Of course I as her manager can make it difficult for her (even fire her) but I’m a nice guy :) " You should distance yourself from this sort of thinking, specifically - You're not 'being a nice guy'. You're being a professional and decent human being. – Ethan The Brave Apr 3 at 14:00
  • It's quit common. Joe is a recruting position, he hires a friend or a relative. And feels it will be difficult for him to dissociate Work/Personal life.Fire, find an other department manager for her, get over it, give her time to find new job before fire, talk about the issue so you know where each other stand – user95634 Apr 4 at 9:38
  • "I also feel angry at times that she used the connection with us to get the job" If this is true, that means your company used nepotism. That's more worrying. – Parrotmaster Apr 4 at 10:30
  • "Am I right to ignore Jane's rude behavior towards my wife at work even though I am in a position to guarantee this impacts Jane's career.?" Yes you are – user13267 Jul 10 at 2:56
118

TL;DR - There is nothing, absolutely nothing you need / should do to react in a professional capacity. Just carry on, business as usual.

I also act normal since I don’t merge my professional and personal spheres of life.

I don't think you're very good at it. You are letting your personal issues (out of the office relationship) cloud your professional judgement.

Of course I as her manager can make it difficult for her (even fire her)

Please, don't even think about it. What an employee does outside the office is no reason to judge them in a professional capacity. You are thinking of getting into a "revenge" mode, curb this thought at root.

I also feel angry at times that she used the connection with us to get the job [...]

Nope, not at all. She might have used the connection to know about the opening and applied and as you mentioned, the hiring was based on their capabilities. You rather should be thankful, they saved you some time and effort "head-hunting".

My wife, although bitter about it, is also of the opinion that I should not let this interfere with my work relationship towards Jane.

She is right, listen to her.

  • If the OP still has concerns about this (or wants to CYA), they should consider validating any decisions relating to Jane with a third-party. Either the OP's boss (depending on relationship) or another manager with the company – Vlad274 Apr 3 at 14:01
  • 20
    DV'd for "I don't think you're very good at it." -- I think the OP is very good at it. Despite thinking that personally they should get revenge, etc., OP hasn't, and has kept a level, professional head the whole time. Yes, things are awkward, but that's unavoidable. The OP is asking for third-party opinions before doing anything, which demonstrates the obvious intent to keep professional / personal politics separated. OP is allowed to feel angry, but as long as they don't change professional behavior, they're doing things right. – 410_Gone Apr 3 at 15:47
  • 1
    The last advice is true even if the wife was not right. One should always pay heed to the words of one's spouse. – Mindwin Apr 3 at 17:17
  • 5
    @SamYonnou Having an "evil" thought doesn't make one evil -- it's how you act on it. Same thing applies here. Sure, OP has a skewed, arguably inappropriate view, but they've had sense enough to keep that skewing out of the equation so far, and maintain a level head. We ought not damn someone for asking "I'm wrong here, right?" – 410_Gone Apr 3 at 22:35
  • You wife sounds like the better person than Jane. Keeping work/personal life separate is an important skill for a manager to have. – Bill Leeper Apr 4 at 19:32
27

I don't think you need a 3rd person telling you what you should do to be honest.

It is quite clear, you were friends, you helped her get a job that you feel she is qualified for, she is no longer a friend but a co-worker.

As long as Jane acts professionally and doesn't make any personal comments, leave it as it is. When you walk in the office, you leave your home behind.

When you walk into your house, you should leave your job behind as well.

Remain professional. If she ends up apologizing to your wife and they become friends again, what would you do if you had fired her?

  • 2
    "If she ends up apologizing to your wife and they become friends again, what would you do if you had fired her?" This statement perfectly illustrates why it's a bad idea to fire Jane even if OP somehow would not care about professional behaviour at work. Personal conflicts between friends blow over more often than not - but almost certainly they won't if your friend's hubby fired you because you were mean to his wife. – xLeitix Apr 4 at 6:42
0

The best solution is to take any management decisions regarding her out of your own hands. That way, you cannot be biased in your actions towards Jane.

I would advise your boss of the bare minimum, and request that they review any disciplinary or job assignment actions you make regarding Jane. It is best to have a neutral third party look over your decisions. Many times our biases are subtle, and we believe we're acting rationally when in reality we are not.

0

In your work life there is absolutely NOTHING you could/should do.

If you fire her for personal motivation, in many countries (depend on where you live) plenty of lawyers will be ready to open the champagne bottle.

The only thing you could do to exit from this situation is to ask Jane to have a coffee after the work and ask her what happened, why and if there is any way she and your wife can be friends again.

But is a very dangerous path, you could upset Jane, your wife or even both.

The best thing for you is let the girls manage the situation.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.