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My direct manager is going through a typically traumatic family event at home, and I only know this because the company CFO inappropriately shared this in front of 100 people. I think it was inappropriate because CFO jokingly shared this info in front of everyone, including my manager. Given the off-hand nature, it seems unlikely that this was anything other than spontaneous. I cannot for sure say that my manager felt offended, but I would assume they didn't want this shared.

Knowing that my direct manager has this presumably serious problem at home, I now feel uncomfortable going to them with non-urgent problems.

To be clear, I don't think my manager's personal issues exempts them from their workplace responsibilities. Nonetheless, as an empathetic person, I now feel uncomfortable going to them with minor issues I have.

Question: is it appropriate to let my CFO know how their statement has impacted me? To be clear, this is not about speaking up on behalf of my manager. This is about the discomfort I now feel asking my manager for help, and how it impacts my job.

  • Does your manager know the CFO shared this information? Did the CFO share this information at your manager's request? I understand you're not doing this for your manager but it changes things if you're about to question something the CFO was asked to do instead of something they decided on their own. – BSMP Nov 6 '19 at 20:27
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    So if I understand correctly, you are unhappy about the CFO telling you about your manager's problems because it makes it harder for you to go to your manager about your work problems? – Jim Clay Nov 6 '19 at 20:37
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    What is your goal on speaking with the CFO? What do you want to achieve? The words were already said, you can't make the CFO make you stop feeling uncomfortable in bringing minor things with your manager... – DarkCygnus Nov 6 '19 at 20:37
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    I think it was inappropriate because CFO jokingly shared this info in front of everyone, including my manager. Given the off-hand nature, it seems unlikely that this was anything other than spontaneous. I cannot for sure say that my manager felt offended, but I would assume they didn't want this shared. – touch my body Nov 6 '19 at 20:53
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    @touchmybody: sure it was inappropriate. So what ? What's done is done. What specifically would you like the CFO to do? If you don't have a specific ask, you are just complaining. – Hilmar Nov 6 '19 at 22:20
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I think you may be over-reacting and/or being over-sensitive. I will explain why I think so:

  • Whether something is inappropriate or not is subjective and if you weren't the subject of the comment, why not brush it off and continue as normal?
  • If your manager found the comment inappropriate then they may or may not choose to raise it with the CFO.
  • The problem isn't with the statement itself but your reaction to it. Why assume that your Manager has "too much on their plate" and won't be capable of continuing to provide support and assistance as they've presumably done in the past?
  • In my experience, people tend to resent those who raise issues on their behalf. If I was your manager and you went "over my head" I would resent that and feel undermined that you hadn't respected that if it's an issue for me then it's mine to deal with and not yours.

Sometimes people make off-hand comments not for any malicious reason but perhaps the CFO and your Manager had already discussed it and/or it was an attempt to "break the ice" or get issues into the open.

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  • Great answer, I'd add to that that if you really can't move on with this, the person to go to would be your manager, but I would recommend against it in any case – Bee Nov 7 '19 at 12:23
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This is absolutely none of your business.

It is not your responsibility to "call out" the CFO's behavior. It is between him and your manager. You have NOTHING to do with it.

You aren't his conscience, mentor, personal coach, or parent. Sit down, do your job, and stay out of it.

If you have discomfort? Well, I hate to break it to you, but life is full of pain. This won't be the last. It won't be the worst. Learn to keep going.

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is it appropriate to let my CFO know how their statement has impacted me? To be clear, this is not about speaking up on behalf of my manager. This is about the discomfort I now feel asking my manager for help, and how it impacts my job.

Surely it isn't inappropriate... but I don't see a point in doing so.

The CFO did what they did for a reason (chances are your manager gave them permission to disclose such information). You were impacted by it.

Speaking to the CFO will serve no (?) purpose at all, as you can't make them "undo" the words they said, nor can you magically forget what was said and stop feeling discomfort.

What I suggest you do is try to get over that discomfort. As you said, this is a "typically traumatic family event", and although it's not nice, these things happen in life all the time.

Now, if you have a relevant issue or thing to discuss with your manager don't hesitate in reaching out. In times like these is where you have to be a bit more aware and supportive to your manager. Halting your communication and deliberately not raising relevant issues with them is not something I would suggest anytime.

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