Article by Wendy McCance
How personal you should get at work has been on my mind a lot recently. I have been witnessing a total beat down of another employee for the last couple of months. A woman who started working at my company around the same time I started working there was completely blown away when personal information she shared with her boss was used against her.
The woman who I was working with was extremely nice, authentic, honest and really young. She hadn’t had too much experience in the work force. She had gone to college, married and had a child. She was a stay at home mom for the most part, only having one other part-time job before joining our company.
Being a real estate agent comes with perks like working from home and creating a schedule around your families needs. That being said, I think this woman felt comfortable being a bit more open and relaxed when it came to talking about herself.
Our boss has been going through a bad patch. It was obvious that there were some personal issues she was dealing with. Once an upbeat person, she became just miserable to work for. Then she took out her aggravated state on this woman.
It all began with a sick child and a bad experience with a child care facility. The woman was quite frank with our boss. She explained what had happened and that she would be working from home until she found someone to watch her child. This should have been completely fine. Half of our office works full-time from their home. They also feel no need to explain their decisions to anyone. We are independent contractors after all. Unfortunately, the woman had some additional bad luck with a car problem. Even so, she was able to list a home and sell it, and she had a few other clients she was working with. She was still doing her job, and doing it just fine.
To make a long story short, the boss screamed at her several times. She wrote the woman some nasty emails and text messages. The situation got so of hand that the woman went to a different real estate office within the same company. The knife in the back came when this boss took her commission from the sale of the home she had just sold. This boss hadn’t played any part in the listing or sale of the home. I’m honestly still stunned that she was able to get away with that.
I felt so bad for this woman who had been treated so badly. She was incredibly nice, smart and decent. Since she has left, a new employee is getting the brunt of my bosses mood swings. The person my boss is targeting now was also the type to give away personal information.
It is incredibly sad that you have to keep business strictly business. Who wants to work with a bunch of robots who can’t show a little of their more human side? How can you relate to others without knowing something that forms some sort of common bond?
I don’t believe you should drag all of your personal issues to work and let them all hang out for everyone to view and comment on. At the same time, I think that a little bit of discussion as a breather to business, business, business is healthy.
I talked with the woman who had left our office the other day. I had a situation like hers back near the beginning of my career. I had learned to be watchful of what you say even if it seems purely trivial. Unfortunately, she understands that lesson very well now. I am happy to report that she loves the office she is working at. The people are friendly and helpful and her new boss is very supportive. I truly wish her all the best.
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