I work in a small/medium company (90 people and counting). The boss is a very "human" person and his wife is working in the same company.

They bought mugs with the company's name on it and they gave them to us because the mugs were not what they expected.

I already brought my own mug months ago, and use it every day. However this morning the boss's wife told me to use the mug they gave us and said, "I don't want to see those kind of mugs now." Mine is an ugly mug, but I love it.

Is this OK? Should I keep my lovely mug or switch with the company mug?

I live in France.
(I'm also not that good in English. Please excuse me.)

  • 4
    Then it looks personal issue rather than professional , May be because of that music matter she is trying to rule on you.. Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 7:50
  • 2
    If she confronts you about it again you could give an excuse, like for example, you have reserved her mug for when you drink tea. Or, that you can't use her mug right now because you still have to clean it. In the meantime, if possible try to patch up whatever personal problem there is between you and her, as probably that is the real problem. NOT what mug you use.
    – Brandin
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 7:55
  • 2
    Is your boss the owner of the company? Or just a manager of the company? Whether he is the owner or not greatly impacts the answer of your question. If he is the owner, his wife may have decisive power in the company. Note that I say "may" here. However, if he is just a manager, then his wife is just another employee, you can ignore her.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 9:40
  • 3
    @JoeStrazzere Being fired because of a mug conflict would be something I could tell to my children later.
    – Seekme
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:32
  • 2
    @Seekme If your boss or his wife fires you because of the mug conflict, they won't tell you that. Instead, they could make your work life miserable and then find an execuse to fire you.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:51

4 Answers 4


Unless it's super important to you, humor her and use the company mug. The company mug will probably run into a horrible, fatal accident later on - hint, hint, hint :) - you'll cry a couple of fake tears and you'll be joyfully reunited with your faithful, lovely mug :)

  • 2
    What if the lady gives the OP another office mug for him to use in the office after he broke it?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:10
  • That's actually a good idea, a couple of mugs already broke with the heat (mine is perfect in every way). If she asks me to hold his ugly mug, I'll say that it was bad quality and the poor thing broke by itself, and that I am TRULY sorry.
    – Seekme
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:22
  • 1
    @scaaahu I hope not. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I am thinking "I took the company mug home and my significant other liked it so much that they had to have it" Maybe they broke it, too ? :) In life, it's not what you do that makes you a stand out, it's what you get away with :) Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:46
  • 8
    Just use the mug. Seriously, what a waste of time, effort and stress to worry about a beverage container. This time next year, I guarantee the novelty will have passed and nobody will care any more. Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 13:14

Pick your battles comes to mind in this situation.

Just use the mug in her presence and make her happy. Office politics suck but are a reality. You do not want to be on the bosses wife's bad side. Best case she can make your working life bad, worst case she may be able to get you fired.

Once everything settles down (I assume this all happened recently after your were given the new mug), you should be able to use your favorite one again while this one is "dirty".

  • The problem is, I can't really predict her presence or not. I guess she can't really do things to me as she is not in HR or something, even as junior developper I think I'm more uselful than she is to the company. Besides, the boss is a cool guy with every one.
    – Seekme
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:18
  • 2
    A happy wife is a happy life is a pretty good motto to live by. Don't confuse the fact that the bosses wife is more important to him than you are. Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:23

Keep the office mug in showcase at home or in your desk. Tell the lady that you like the office mug so much that you don't want to use and dirty it. Tell her that you want to keep it pristine.

If it is kept in the showcase at home, invite them for lunch or dinner once to show proudly that it is on display.

Otherwise, use the office mug as a holder for pens and other stationery.

But please don't make it have a horrible accident as stated in the other answer. It'll be an insult to your company. Bon jour!

  • 4
    "Tell the lady that you like the office mug so much that you don't want to use and dirty it.": this seems over-the-top. If anyone were to say that to me I'd assume they were being sarcastic/lying. Using for pens etc. seems more reasonable.
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 11:53
  • What if the lady gives the OP another office mug for him to use in the office?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 11:54
  • @scaaahu No problem. Use one company mug on desk for blue and black pens, another for highlighters, and finally my own personal mug for coffee.
    – Brandin
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:23

It depends. Is your mug visible to the company's customers? They might want some free advertising.

If not then, no, it shouldn't matter and it's really not okay to order you to drink from a specific mug.

It's similar to dress codes, dress codes are in order in many companies for those who have to interact with certain customers and it's simply appropriate. However, for employees who do not interact to anyone externally it simply does not make sense to have a specific dress code, other than not looking like trash. It's simply nit-picking to order you around like that, just for the sake of internal pride.

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it. At best you can email your boss and ask something like

I heard that we are required to use the company's labeled mugs while on duty, can you confirm this?

At best you'll get a reply stating that it's not required and if his wife spots you again you can simply say that your boss does not approve of it. You'll be taking a certain risk there, though, but it's an option.

The other option is to simply take the beating and use the mug, I know for sure that I wouldn't but then again I'm not in your position.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .