We have a doozy of a question this week, folks, and I’m hoping some of you can help the writer with some advice:
I just found out that my boss is having an affair. Normally I wouldn’t care. I mean, who he sleeps with is none of my business, isn’t it? The part I’m having trouble with is that I like his wife. A lot! She’s in and out of the office all the time and she attends company events with him. She’s such a sweetheart, and I feel just terrible about all of this. I hate to see her taken advantage of. So what do I do? Do I tell her about the affair? Or do I protect my boss?
Andrea (not my real name)
Andrea, thank you for writing to me about this problem. You certainly have a serious dilemma on your hands. Situations like this can cause you some serious heartache.
I’ve always been a big advocate of keeping your boss’s personal business confidential. An Administrative or Executive Assistant is so much in her boss’s pocket, that she tends to learn many things that she might otherwise not want to know. If we are to maintain the level of support to our boss’s that they need, they need to be able to trust that anything we learn is kept strictly confidential.
My question would be how you learned about the affair? Was it through your work duties? I know that I’ve come across the same knowledge in the past looking for an e-mail my boss couldn’t find.
My gut says if you found out about the affair in the performance of your work duties, then you owe your boss your confidentiality. However, if you found this out in a non-work venue, then you are not so bound. For instance, if you heard about it from someone in your social group.
Assuming you didn’t find out from work duties, I’m still of two minds about telling the wife. You still have to worry about your own position and the possibility of retaliation from your boss. It could make your job very, very difficult. It’s a matter you have to wrestle out with your own conscience.
I know Andrea and I aren’t the only two who have made this discovery. I see the topic in search often enough to know it isn’t an unusual happening. I’d love to hear from all of you, my readers, on this topic. How far does confidentiality reach? Would you tell the wife in these circumstances? Please, leave a comment and tell us what you think.