“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Jan 11, 2014
DEAR AMY: My husband's secretary sends text messages to him. Initially it was an occasional text relating to business. Over the past year or so these text messages have become more frequent and more personal. Though seemingly harmless, these messages irk me.

For example, when my husband "Dan" was home sick with the flu she texted, "Are you feeling better?" to which he responded a polite, "Yes, thank you."

Then she started texting photos of her kids, or a cute dog, and other photos, which he has deleted to keep me from getting angry.

Last night -- Friday at 9 o'clock -- she texted a picture of herself with a friend who used to work at the same office. No message -- just the picture.

This really ticked me off. Dan no longer responds to these messages (at my request, to keep things professional/businesslike).

She is an aggressive and rather attractive divorced woman in her 40s. I feel very annoyed that she would be thinking about my Medicare-aged husband after work hours.

I expressed my dismay about this and my husband said, "Yes, she's weird, but don't you trust me?" That just pushed me to be even more irritated.

Dan and I need to know if you have any advice on how to make this stop. This woman obviously knows no boundaries and doesn't respect our privacy or our marriage and family.-- Irked

DEAR IRKED: It should be relatively easy for your husband to get his secretary to stop texting him in this unprofessional way. All he has to do is to say (or text) to her, "Don't send personal texts to me, please. I find it unprofessional and also disruptive to my home life."

"Dan" doesn't seem to want to do this. It might be time for you to tell him that no, you don't trust him.

DEAR AMY: I work in an office where passive communication is the norm. I am frequently given information thirdhand (sometimes fourthhand), which leads to confusion, discrepancy and, in some instances, hurt feelings.

Many things I'm expected to know I could only have found out through eavesdropping. I was raised to believe that eavesdropping is rude. Therefore, I tune it out, but I find I am not receiving information that others expect me to have because I won't listen to other people's business.

It seems that my attempts to encourage people to be more direct have had the opposite effect: People don't want to approach me because I'm not playing the passive-aggressive game. So they have someone tell someone to leave an ambiguous note in my inbox.

It seems ironic to me that my employers frequently say things like, "Let's be a team" when they are unwilling or unable to speak directly. Do you have advice for how I can change my behavior or know what I could say that might encourage people to be a bit more forthright?-- Straight-shooter

DEAR SHOOTER: One thing you could do differently would be to look for a different job -- one where your direct style would be an asset.

If you are unwilling (or unable) to do this, then you are going to have to hunker down and operate as others do in your workplace -- even if you don't like it (and I agree with you that this style is not ideal). According to you, this ambiguous style originates at the top, so correcting it isn't realistically feasible.

Nothing (work related) you hear in the next cubicle should be off limits to you if it enhances your ability to do your job well, so take off your noise-canceling headphones, forget what your folks taught you about eavesdropping and dive in to the passive pool. Just make sure you verify any fourthhand information before acting on it.

DEAR AMY: I worked as a legal secretary for many years. The letter from "Flummoxed" about the lawyer posting abusive comments about her secretary on Facebook made me see red. I know lawyers don't always have the best reputation, but in many years working in the legal field I was never treated with anything but dignity.-- Proud

DEAR PROUD: I have received scores of responses from lawyers denouncing this person's behavior.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#3 Jan 11, 2014
1- Way to blame the man. And why are you going through his phone messages? If the genders were reversed, you would be controlling, insecure, and jealous

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#4 Jan 11, 2014
1 What edog said. Nice how Its 2 women doing things, but still the mans fault. lamy needs to crawl back under her sexist rock.

2 I dont understand any of what your saying. How are you supposed to work from a vague note? Your office sounds like a Dilbert cartoon.

3 If I was that lawyer, I would sue lamy for these rehashes.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#5 Jan 11, 2014
And just her tone:

"These messages irk me" "to keep me from getting angry" "this really ticked me off" "just pushed me to be even more irritated"

I mean dam, she's got some anger issues

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#6 Jan 11, 2014
1. This woman is very insecure. The content of the messages is innocuous. It is the fact that the secretary texts him and the timing. She does not complain about the frequency or that there is any salacious content.
The big clue is LW's description. "She is an aggressive and rather attractive divorced woman in her 40s. I feel very annoyed that she would be thinking about my Medicare-aged husband after work hours."

The last I checked, you can't control anyone's thoughts.

One of my colleague's wife is like this. She is one step away from isolating him socially from anyone but her friends and family. He's a nice guy, too.

2. For some reason I have a visual of an office filled with hipsters
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#7 Jan 11, 2014
1: Eh, I see both sides. Your secretary sending random pics after hours of her and her friends? Uncool. He doesn't seem to do anything to stop it either. He likes the attention...we've been down this road before.

2: Ick, what? Sounds like they are passive gossips. Who wants to be that just to fit in with their unprofessional co-workers?

I have this issue. Teachers (female ones) are some of the most gossipy whiney babies I have ever worked wth! I will go to a person and say something, and instead of coming to ME and opening an adult dialogue, they run and tattle to "mommy" (principal). It is so annoying, especially when they speculate and get it wrong. I hate female teachers. The guys are pretty cool.
Cass

Claremont, CA

#8 Jan 11, 2014
LW1 - Wow. Insecure much?

LW2 - What kind of information? If it's "Stephanie told me that Mark heard from Jennifer that Boss wants you to have the project numbers by Friday noon," that's a problem. Advice - look for a new job ASAP. The Boss should be telling you directly when he/she wants the project numbers from you, and it's only a matter of time before you'll get fired for not doing things you were supposed to do, but didn't know about.

If it's "Stephanie told me that Mark heard from Jennifer that Suzie is going to be taking a maternity leave in April," that's soooooo none of your business even if Suzie's going on maternity leave will affect your own job duties and/or hours. You'll be told when it's your business to know.

LW - The horse is DEAD. DEAD. DEAD. Its putrified remains need to be removed from this column safely, for ever, and far, far away.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#9 Jan 11, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
1- Way to blame the man. And why are you going through his phone messages? If the genders were reversed, you would be controlling, insecure, and jealous
Amy may have that attitude but I say the same advice given here would and should apply to a woman who is getting this kind of attention from a co-worker or subordinate at work. It is more difficult when the employee is getting this stuff from a boss. In that situation, I'd say the employee should tell the boss that his/her spouse gets upset about the personal texts, phone calls, emails (as the case might be) and could the boss please restrict his communications to those that are work related so the employee's marriage is not disturbed. In the current situation, the husband is the boss and he does have the ability to politely put his employee in her place and tell her to stop this non-work type of communication. It would seem that he's more concerned about upsetting his employee than his wife. I bet he really enjoys this woman's (the employee) attention. The old goat.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#10 Jan 11, 2014
cheluzal wrote:
1: Eh, I see both sides. Your secretary sending random pics after hours of her and her friends? Uncool. He doesn't seem to do anything to stop it either. He likes the attention...we've been down this road before.
I agree, I can see both sides of this. LW seems way over-the-top controlling, but there is no reason for the secretary to be texting non-business-related messages and pics after hours. If LW's husband was smart, he would put an end to it, but there's a part of him that loves the attention.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#11 Jan 11, 2014
LW2: Maybe you're somewhat intimidating. You can't change anyone else, so try adapting your style. Be warmer and more friendly. See if anything changes.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#12 Jan 11, 2014
Pippa wrote:
Amy may have that attitude but I say the same advice given here would and should apply to a woman who is getting this kind of attention from a co-worker or subordinate at work. It is more difficult when the employee is getting this stuff from a boss. In that situation, I'd say the employee should tell the boss that his/her spouse gets upset about the personal texts, phone calls, emails (as the case might be) and could the boss please restrict his communications to those that are work related so the employee's marriage is not disturbed. In the current situation, the husband is the boss and he does have the ability to politely put his employee in her place and tell her to stop this non-work type of communication. It would seem that he's more concerned about upsetting his employee than his wife. I bet he really enjoys this woman's (the employee) attention. The old goat.
I agree he should tell the secretary to stop texting him so much. He's at least doing it the passive way by not responding... at the behest of his wife. And considering his wife's behavior, I can kinda understand how he might like the attention. But I still think the real issue is the LW is jealous and insecure. I never said the secretary's behavior was appropriate and LW is just blowing it out of proportion. I'm just saying the lady needs to chill. I'm assuming they've been married for quite some time, you'd think a secure couple would have a laugh over this. With her attitude, she's gonna drive him right into this lady's arms.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#13 Jan 11, 2014
The fact that lw even knows about the texts tells me how over the top psycho controlling she is. Emails, txt msgs, facebook correspondences....all that comes to my phone. Msgs drom people I know, bills, mailing list coupons....For my wife to know about every text sent by a co-worker, she'd have to be grabbing my phone a lot and wading thru a lot of nonsense.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#14 Jan 13, 2014
Kuuipo wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree, I can see both sides of this. LW seems way over-the-top controlling, but there is no reason for the secretary to be texting non-business-related messages and pics after hours. If LW's husband was smart, he would put an end to it, but there's a part of him that loves the attention.
But it was a pic of her and a former co-worker. There's no message, either, because all the secretary is doing is saying, "Hey! Look who I hung out with! Remember this person?" I don't see harm in that. I wouldn't text my boss personally, but we used to do it with co-workers all the time. I remember me and a co-worker drunk dialing all our co-workers at home and on cells during a beach bar crawl once several years ago (they were cold up north and we were warm in FL on a beach crawl). It was fun!!!
Blunt Advice

Saddle River, NJ

#15 Jan 13, 2014
My husband is a teacher and most of his coworkers are female. There is a group that goesout to lunch peridically and they do a Friday happy hour (I. Have joined them a few times). If any of the lady teachers ever texted him I wouldn't know because I don't go through his phone. I suppose if he was having an affair I would know and if he really wanted to have one he would even if he worked with guys. I work with all men and definitely don't want to have affairs with them (vomiting a little in my mouth at the thought) Just because you work with the opposite sex I don't think it means you want to jump their bones. Am I too trustworthy?
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#16 Jan 14, 2014
Wasn't this addressed in the Abby "repeat" letter about spotting
"abuse/controlling behaviors"? I like some of the insights mentioned above for dealing with annoying behaviors..

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