Am I overreacting to my boss's (maybe innocuous) remarks?
December 24, 2013 9:05 AM Subscribe
I quit my first post-college job a few months ago because I decided to relocate. My company offered to let me do contract work for them, so I’ve been doing projects for them on the side. However, given what I just learned about something my boss said, I don’t know if I want to keep freelancing for them, or if I'm overreacting.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (34 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On my last day at work, a new person came onto the team, so we all went to a farewell/welcome lunch, the boss included. I don’t remember why he brought this topic up, but he said, “I don’t know if any of you know what it’s like to grow up without a father…” I raised my hand and said that I did, and the table immediately fell quiet. At the time, I thought I had just made things incredibly awkward by admitting this.
But it turns out it was awkward for another reason altogether. I only learned this today when I caught up with some former coworkers: Apparently, my boss had responded to my chiming in by saying “You don’t count” or “That doesn’t count.” He then went on to talk about how hard his childhood was or something like that.
It’s possible that he meant this in a harmless, albeit tactless way, like “You don’t count, because you know what I’m talking about.” But my coworkers brought this up while recounting outrageous things he had said over the past year, and one of them said they considered this one the worst. Plus, when I told my coworkers that I don’t remember him saying this, they suggested that it was so unpleasant to hear I’d probably blocked it from my memory (I don’t think that’s the case—I think I actually just didn’t hear him, because there were two people seated between him and myself). And another one of my coworkers said she uses this exchange to illustrate what it's like working for this person when she describes him to people who have never met him.
My former boss is infamous for saying things that are insensitive, inappropriately sexual, etc and passing them off as jokes. I was rarely the target for these statements, so until recently I was able to just ignore them. But given how negatively my father’s death affected my family, this time his thoughtlessness has struck a nerve. Since I moved, I’ve been doing contract work for the company, and I don’t even interact with him at all, but I’m now debating whether I want to continue doing any sort of work that would support his business.
Here’s the thing, though: I don’t have a steady job in my new city. I do have $8,000 in the bank and five months until my lease is up and I move back home(I'm not digging my new digs). But I recently quit my full-time temp job to do a part-time internship in a field I’m more interested in, and part of me is reluctant to let the extra income go. I plan on getting restaurant/retail work in the meantime to also cover my rent, which is about $600 a month.
But assuming that I didn’t find a part-time job between now and May (which I think is the absolute worst-case scenario), I still think I’d be okay without the contract work…right? Or do you think I am being too sensitive, and should just stick with the contract work? In a sense, I think that quitting would be more of my loss than my former boss’s. After all, employees have come and gone from that company like flies. I’d just be one added to the tally marks for him, whereas for me it would be a loss of supplemental income. I also know that I can’t just quit things over every thing that upsets me. Am I being too emotional over this?