Q. Two weeks ago, I got a call from a woman who told me that she was my boss’s wife. She then went ahead to ask me whether I was having an affair with him. I was shocked, and of course told her no because I am not, only for her to ask me why then he called me often.
To cut a long story short, I managed to convince her that ours was a purely professional relationship. Eventually, she begged me not to inform my boss about the phone call, but I feel harassed, and I am tempted to let my boss know that his wife called me to harass me. Should I tell him or not?
Do not tell him. It is not necessary to humiliate his wife however harassed you feel. And in any case, what do you stand to gain by telling him? Remember you had just one conversation with her, you cleared the air and she apologised.
By fanning this issue, you will only be drawing attention to yourself, a factor that might change your professional relationship with your boss. Instead, seek to set boundaries around your personal and work time and let your boss know you prefer to consult only during working hours unless it is very necessary that you speak after work.
This way, you will resolve the problem smartly and your boss need not know what triggered your request. Steer away from being caught up in their ‘domees’. Do not allow your name to be dragged into their arguments where she may call you names and he has to face you the next day with such baggage on his mind.
He may actually resent you for causing him problems at home, and to appease his home situation, he may ask for his or your reassignment, and in the process you might lose a good boss over a storm in a teacup. Worse still, he may seek solace from you given that you understand his situation, further complicating your professional relationship and validating his wife’s situation.
Also note that some of these issues have a way of getting out on their own. For sure, if his wife keeps this habit of calling his work colleagues on unjustified suspicion, she will soon get found out. If she indeed gets back with more unfounded accusations though, there will be justification to alert your boss.
In doing so, do not play the role of marriage counsellor, rather, let him know that he needs to reassure his wife that you only have a professional working relationship and that she needs to respect that. If the accusations continue, look for reassignment to avoid a toxic environment.