I’m the Corporate office manager of a company, so I handle everything on the business side of things. I work as the accountant, secretary, bookkeeper, payroll, HR and much more. So because of that my boss (the owner) and I work pretty closely as I have to approve most things through him.
Well, his wife is a very jealous person and as soon as I met her I could tell she didn’t like me. My boss was out of town last week and his wife came into my office and started screaming at me telling me that I had been an hour late every day and that I was taking too long at lunch. (I am 20 minutes early every day and bring my lunch to work and eat it at my desk while still working).
We have a time clock so it’s not like I could even lie about when I get to work or when I click out. She tells me that I’m manipulating the system and taking advantage of her husband when I really have done nothing wrong. I’ve only been here for 2 months so I feel like she has so much influence on whether or not I stay. I feel like she is sabotaging my career and that’s not okay with me. What can I do?
Bad bosses let their family members influence their business decisions. Good bosses control the family members. I don’t know which kind of boss you have, but you need to find out.
This will be unpleasant, but you need to tell your boss what happened while he was gone. Try an opening statement like this, “Jim, this is a little awkward, but when you were gone last week, Holly came in. She was very angry with me, said I was coming in late and taking long lunches and that I was taking advantage of you. None of this is true. I wanted you to be aware and let you know it was very uncomfortable.”
Then let him respond. His response will tell you what you need to know. In general, you’ll get one of the following responses:
1. Total defense of his wife. YOU must have done SOMETHING wrong. She’s very astute about employees. If this happens, brush up your resume and get the heck out of this place (don’t quit, though, until you have something new lined up). Your life will be a living hell if you stay there and you may end up fired.
2. Wishy washy response. “You just have to ignore Holly. She can be a bit difficult, but, well, you know.” In this case, your job is probably secure, but you won’t be able to trust your boss to stop this from happening again. The wife will be annoying, but as long as she’s not around, it won’t be too bad.
3. Proper response. “I apologize for my wife. I will speak to her and it won’t happen again.” And then he follows through and you never see the wife again. Now, before I get screamy comments and emails about how husbands shouldn’t control wives, wives shouldn’t show up at their husband’s businesses and abuse the employees.
To be honest, response 3 is unlikely. Since the business didn’t begin yesterday, chances are the wife has done this before and she’ll do it again. My guess is that if you haven’t had problems with the boss or the wife before this trip, that you’ll get response 2.
Crazy family members happen. How bad this is depends on how often the boss goes out of town and how often the wife shows up. You can ask the other employees if her behavior is frequent. You might also want to find out if the person who held your position previously left because of the jealous wife.
You have to decide if the boss will give into the wife’s paranoia or if she’ll just be annoying. If there’s a possibility that it won’t be a mere annoyance, start looking for a new job right now. Life is too short to suffer with the boss’s crazy wife.