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Your Questions on Bridezilla Managers, BDSM, and Out of State Opportunities

How should you deal with a manager who brings his or her personal problems to work?

GREY Journal

Who is Alex and what is this? This is an advice column where I, Alex, answer your questions about dating and about life. Got a question you want to see featured? Submit it in the comments below!

Dealing with a Cruel Manager

My manager used an inappropriate word at work (the “r word”) while talking to me. I called her out on it but she ignored me and kept talking like nothing had happened. She’s also been particularly cruel to the employees she’s been managing ever since she found out her parents weren’t paying for her wedding. I don’t think I can talk to her about this and I’m also not sure if this is something I should take to HR. What should I do?

There are times when a person’s personal life can be hard to ignore in the work place. Ideally, that shouldn’t translate to being unnecessarily tactful or unreasonable to one’s coworkers or subordinates but it happens. And when it does, it’s best for everyone to give that person a wide berth and try to find compassion for them.

Upset manager looking planning wedding on phone
Upset manager planning wedding on phone

In your situation that sounds pretty difficult, though. A bridezilla throwing a tantrum doesn’t illicit the same empathy as a break up or even a dead goldfish. And the particulars of this tantrum are quite unbecoming. But let’s be practical here; as tempting as it may be to respond to this situation maliciously, I think doing so would be operating outside of your best interest. Unless this person has done something that you think might be hurting the company you work for, I’d rely on time and whatever type of karma you believe in to work this out.

What should you do in the mean time? Keep your head down and hope that her tantrum blows over. If she uses the word again, reiterate that the word is inappropriate for the workplace. If she continues to use it, then I’d go to HR. You shouldn’t have to put up with that.

Supporting Your Partner’s Decision to Move

My longterm girlfriend has been offered a position out of state. It pays much better than her current position and she makes a lot more money than I do already. We live together and she takes care of most of our expenses. She’s made a point to discuss the move with me but I can’t help but feel powerless in the decision making. I’m scared to leave behind all of my friends but I don’t feel like I have the right to hold her back. What should I do?

First off, your girlfriend has chosen to enter into and stay in a longterm commitment with you. Maybe she was making more than you then—or maybe that changed over time—but the point is, your relationship is evidence that you provide something of value to her life. She would be less happy or feel less complete if you were not in her life. And for that reason, I don’t think you should feel guilty airing your concerns and reservations—or even saying outright that you’d really prefer not to move.

Upset boyfriend lying in bed contemplating relationship
Upset boyfriend lying in bed contemplating relationship

In the same way money isn’t everything in your relationship, money isn’t everything in your life. If you have friends and or family in your state, I’m assuming some of those are shared with your partner and those factors should be considered when making life decisions. A larger paycheck is not necessarily going to make up for the loss of those relationships, if they’re important to you. Moreover, by not speaking up, you run the risk of your partner assuming that a larger income is something that you’d prefer (it would affect both of you after all) and making that decision on your behalf.

All you can really do in this situation is be clear and upfront with your partner. If you don’t want to move away, tell her that. Maybe she feels the same or maybe it comes down to moving with her or moving on from her.  If that’s the case, then you’ll need to decide what’s more important to you: this relationship or the place you live in?

Discussing BDSM Relationships at Work

I’m really into certain BDSM activities. Because of the particulars of this, I frequently end up with bruises or marks on my body. Many of them are easy to cover up but certain ones (wrists, ankles, neck) are not—particularly in the summer months. I don’t want my coworkers to think I have an unsafe home situation but I don’t know that delving into the specifics is appropriate. I also don’t want to sexualize myself in a workplace that is predominantly male. What should I do?

Let’s try and game this out. You’re saying that, despite your ongoing efforts to cover these marks up, they have been or will likely be seen by your coworkers. You worry that someday, the frequency of their appearance on your body will cause someone to ask questions or, worse, draw conclusions about it.

Intimate couple kissing passionately
Intimate couple kissing passionately

First off, and this is going to be touchy but I think it’s important to say, the alternative conclusions that your coworkers or superiors might draw would be worse for your professional development than the presence of this safe and consensual interest outside of work. The most obvious of those alternative conclusions being that you’re in an abusive relationship. That’s a terrible situation to be in and for many people in that situation, it can be a terribly difficult situation to exit. Worse yet, those situations tend to escalate—and employers are often aware of that. An employee who shows up with bruises might start showing up late or exhausted after having been up all night dealing with their abusive partner. Ditto with an employee who falls into the other alternative conclusion that could be drawn from mysterious bruises: alcoholism. That, too, escalates.

So if covering up isn’t always an option—and you’re not planning on eliminating this practice from your life anytime soon—then you’re going to have to own it. I don’t think you should outright tell everyone you work with that you’re a dirty little sub, but I think if you ever find yourself showing up with visible bruises, you need to acknowledge them when you see a coworker or superior notice them. You don’t have to be specific or creepy or sexual—just make a remark that implies that these are supposed to be there and that everything is good in the hood.

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This article originally published on GREY Journal.

Alex Stone
Alex H Stone and his cat Jeff live in Minneapolis, MN. Alex H Stone has an MFA in Creative Writing. In his free time he enjoys taking pictures and sneaking into places he shouldn’t sneak into—but don’t tell anyone. For more Ask Jeff’s Dad, visit us on the web at www.askjeffsdad.com

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