Archive for Thursday, October 11, 2001

Fraternization’ at office destroys jobs, marriages

October 11, 2001

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Dear Ann: I am the manager of a small, family-owned business. Six months ago, I hired "Ricky," an honest, hard-working fellow. He's been doing a great job. Two months later, the company hired "Lucy," who is also a good worker.

Here's the problem: Ricky and Lucy are having an affair. Both of them are married, and Lucy's husband is a good friend of mine. This is causing all sorts of problems. Our company has a "no fraternization" policy, and if it became known that these two are carrying on, they would be fired. Second, I feel as if I am betraying Lucy's husband.

I don't want to report them to the boss because they are good workers and would be fired. Should I speak to Ricky directly and tell him his job is in jeopardy? Should I talk to Lucy's husband since he is my friend? Please tell me what to do. I really am conflicted. Fred in New York

Dear Fred: Leave Lucy's husband out of it. Talk to Ricky directly, and tell him you are aware of his indiscretion. Make it clear that it's only a matter of time before the boss finds out, and both of them could lose their jobs. I hope he is decent enough to break it off before both his marriage and Lucy's are destroyed.

Dear Ann: You were off the mark in your advice to "Burning Out in Los Angeles." He said he is desperately unhappy and has been "sentenced to a life of solitude and despair" because four years ago, his fiancdumped him. You told him to get out and date that women are looking for a decent man like him.

You are out to lunch. We are NOT looking for him. I'll bet you never had to sit across the dinner table from a man who spent the entire evening detailing how he was wronged by his ex, his boss, his mother, and so on. Let me tell you, Ann, it is no fun dining with a martyr. I would rather have root canal surgery.

Tell "Burning Out" to snap out of it. He should stop dwelling on being dumped and concentrate on how to make other people feel special. He needs to learn how to listen instead of whine. Please, Ann, stop suggesting lonely women as band-aids for self-centered losers. We deserve better. Ruby in Los Angeles

Dear Ruby: You are right. Whiners are a bore. Detailing failed relationships is a ho-hummer. Nobody's interested. Thanks for saying it so well.

Dear Ann: My wife's father passed away in 1985. Since then, my mother-in-law has continued listing herself in the telephone directory under her late husband's name. When I asked my wife about it, she says Mom is doing this "out of respect" for her late husband.

I think it would be mighty embarrassing to have someone call and ask to speak to my late father-in-law. Would Mom tell him Dad is not in, or that she'll take a message? Sixteen years is too long to have a deceased person's name in the phone directory. The listing ought to be in my mother-in-law's name. If she is concerned that people will know she's a woman living alone, she can use her initials. What do you say, Ann? Son-in-Law in Pennsylvania

Dear Son-in-Law: It is perfectly proper for widows to continue to use their husband's names (Mrs. John Doe) as long as they wish, even in the directory listing. If your mother-in-law finds comfort in doing this, leave her alone. It harms no one, and if she doesn't mind the occasional call asking for her late husband, neither should you. (P.S. Most folks suspect that using an initial instead of a first name indicates the listing may belong to a woman.)

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