When her Ex became her Boss
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Their friends preferred not to talk about their breakup because it was a subjected not to be discussed. After three years without communication, Josephine and Claude met at a job interview - one of them as the employer and the other as the employee. After Josephine graduated with a Masters of Arts in Economic Policy Management from the University of Nairobi, she returned home and worked at different places as a consultant for at least three years.
One that fateful day she saw an advert in the papers and a consultant with knowledge in economic planning was required. So she applied. She sent in her papers and after a week she was among the eight people shortlisted. The Human Resource Manager called her in for the interview. He was away during recruiting time but had given the HR the permission to recruit someone with the right skills and credentials.
Josephine passed all the interviews and had the required skills and credentials for the job. She was hired. Hell broke loose when Josephine reported to work and the HR gave her a tour of the place. She told her she had to meet the Managing Director before doing any tasks. Both of them had actually kept all the emotions and regrets of their breakup deep down, never knowing that they would come to this. If someone decides to be abusive, they bring this upon themselves. Good luck! Do not attempt to contact me. My lawyer will be in touch about a divorce. Abuse is different!
Just walk! Protect yourself! The hell with professionalism! You owe him nothing, and you owe yourself conscientious awareness of your own emotional and physical safety. One of the things I had to accept when I left my abusive ex was that, no matter how I handled it, I was going to be the bad guy in his story. I did the same thing described here — took all the things I cared about one day and left.
I was worried he would get physically violent if I told him I was leaving. Or that I just would give in again to his promises that he would change and be better — he always did, but never for more than a few days before it was back to the status quo. Your setting is not even remotely similar. No where near, not at all….. Did I mention you have a different setting?
It gives the distinct impression that OP thinks this is something he can expect Sylvia to forgive and forget enough to work with him, not a life-defining act of cruelty. I do, however, agree with this, and will take it further: OP, you cannot work at this job. This job is not tenable, and you cannot report to Sylvia under any circumstances. Insisting on doing so would compound an act of frankly unimaginable cruelty and selfishness with a great deal more of both.
Please do it. And is doing it by … leaving with little or no discussion, and without much warning better than none? That…seems likely to echo past events in a small key and be even more upsetting for Sylvia. Maybe she wants you to hang on while she finds a replacement and then go. Last time, you gave her no notice, no warning, no input, and no closure. This time, give her those things.
Let her decide what works best for her, not just have you appear as a surprise on the first day…nor disappear into the sunset again, leaving her with a position to fill and probably a bad taste in her mouth. I think this is upheaval Sylvia can deal with. Haha expat bros. So true. OP ghosted on Sylvia badly many years ago. If OP resigns and ducks out either before Sylvia arrives, or as quickly as possible thereafter, and Sylvia has no input, I suspect it is going to feel like OP is running away from Sylvia again. But it very well might. The OP is probably going to do more damage by sticking it around on the flimsy pretense of not leaving her in the lurch to hire.
Sometimes the kindest thing for a person who has done the wronging is for them to make the choice instead. Right now is not the time for the OP to decide to have a life-changing moment. I agree with Snark, here. This is something that always has to be dealt with anywhere. Having to deal with, and having staff have to deal with, the fallout of this situation is much worse. I feel for Sylvia.
How do you even handle this in her situation? Should she go to HR when she sees that her ghosting ex reports to her? If I were the HR person responsible for this department, I would want to know because it seems like it would take special care. So much for being kind to letter writers. He showed no honest reguard about the situation except that he might have to quit to run away again.
He looks out for himself and enjoys the expat life. He is a bro. He may have grown up a bit since. He still needs to handle this like walking on eggshells shells. The truth will get out to his friends, girlfriend, etc. And no one is going to like him or want to be around him anymore. But this is a blog about management and organizations. Saying that OP needs to resign out of fairness to Sylvia puts his personal history on a pedestal above the needs of the organization. What about the kids OP teaches?
Particularly if this is pre-secondary school, their lives all get disrupted if a teacher resigns. What about filling the vacancy? Are you new here? Alison frequently advises people to move on if their personal life is too much of a distraction to their work life, or vice a versa. A high-level administrator handpicked for this role is likely harder to replace than a lower-level teacher not to say that teachers are easy to replace, but it sounds like the school had to work really hard to find Sylvia.
The ethicalal thing to do is ask Sylvia what SHE wants out of this situation and do it, even if it is inconvenient for the OP. I am so terribly sorry if my unexpected presence in your life reopens old wounds. I cannot ask for or expect your forgiveness for the hurt I caused you. At this point, my goal is to minimize the amount of pain I cause you now.
Where would you like to go from here? I fully understand that you may not be able to work with me. I am willing to resign now if you would like, or to resign once you find a replacement for my position. If you would like to communicate through [third party,] that is also a possibility. Even if, like the breakup or the thought of uprooting their life now, it feels inconvenient or uncomfortable. I am divided on this. One way gives her the option on how to proceed, but then in the same token it is kind of putting the onus on her to navigate this awful situation he had caused.
Also, any level of apology and trying to show compassion for her current feelings may come across as the OP does feel, anyway as him again calling her crazy and obsessive. I mean wow. At the same time though, is there even a way to handle this? I dont think there is. I agree. She can chose to see it as cleaning up his mess again or she can chose to see that he is trying to grant her the upper hand in this situation. We have no idea what she sees from where she is. Go to your New Boss. So the OP reaching out in advance is helpful in so far as it will permit Sylvia the occasion to self-reflect on whether she is able to accept the position.
Meaning that if she intends to keep the job, she must be able to assess the OP only on his merits as a teacher. If she cannot do so, or cannot come up with an alternative reporting structure, Sylvia must resign. Note that this is not a commentary on what the OP did 10 years ago. Sylvia did not cause this. Sylvia should not be expected to accommodate him. She needs to know the ghosting ex is on the faculty now and needs to determine whether she can manage him as an employee. She applied for a job and was hired! Blame the victim much?
But the OP was clearly in the wrong, and Sylvia should not have to rearrange her life based on something the OP did wrong many years ago. I wholeheartedly disagree.
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This is not a reasonable expectation to make of someone. Not sure where you are getting these odd ideas. Perhaps if Sylvia was his therapist or his care provider the dual relationship ethical responsibility would come into play. Do both people have ethical responsibilities here? While I DO think people are leaping down too quickly on OP to resign, I think you are looking about this in a pretty black and white way.
Are you saying because OP is reporting to her, he automatically gets first dibs on a job? Could this end up with someone resigning? But I think this could also potentially be mediated appropriately if OP is willing to do the work. As someone in the social work field I am so surprised at your lack of awareness around this.
I completely agree. This is the most equitable way for this scenario to play out. I really hope that the OP reads your comment and implements your suggestions. Professionalism, especially in management, dictates the high road and healthy boundaries. What the OP did in his personal life 10 years ago, in and of itself, has no bearing on how he does his job today or tomorrow. I think Sylvia should be given the chance to resign if she wants to.
She might not have another option. I do know that OP needs to contact her asap, in case she decides to not start working there. Except she has done nothing wrong. He is the one who did something wrong and displayed a fairly shocking lack of integrity and judegement. I just gotta say. Sorry, but no. Not at all. In no way, shape, or form. Women are hysterical because their wombs wander! Behind every female hysteric is a man using the term to gaslight her into behaving in a way convenient for him.
I remember when we came across the word in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. May numinous fire arise around you and inspire all those in your presence to fall to their knees in reverent, terrified ecstasy. Anybody want to do a coffee run? It really is, and given the widespread misuse of that phrase, I suspect I will treasure that nugget always and have cause to reflect upon it often. Hysterical is a word with enough baggage and history of misuse that I think we need to just stop using it.
Even clinically. No kudos. Either sincerely apologize for being a coward or find another job. He pretty much sidesteps any responsibility and calls Sylvia emotional and obsessed for, uh, wondering where her boyfriend vanished to? Seems reasonable. Good lord. The insurance? I suspect you did Sylvia a favor in the long run, because you sound like a terrible partner. Do her another one now. Talk to her before the school year starts, and yeah. Time to ex-pat yourself to another school.
The only hope is to throw yourself on her mercy and acknowledge that you were extremely immature then and have felt ashamed of yourself for years. If you were in fact young, in your 20s, hopefully early 20s, you might be able to play the young and stupid card, but there is no way out except acknowledging that you were a jerk and you know it will be awkward to work together. Maybe her life is great, she feels she dodged a bullet and you can muddle through for a term or two until you can figure out how to move on.
If I were Sylvia, I would absolutely look up the faculty at a school if I were under consideration for a job as the director. I would assume she already knows you are there. Most schools publicly list their faculty and that is usually the first stop for someone interested in a job. Most importantly because if he stays and the story comes out, he will be painted in the wrong and reasonable people will automatically side with Sylvia on principle.
Its a really bad situation, and the fact that OP shrugs of abandoning his long term partner as ghosting is unfathomable. He then takes a step forward to call her emotional and causing scenes when a reasonable person would do the same thing. My main concern is what happened to her financial situation when OP left.
Did she make enough to keep her place? Were their shared bills covered? Did OP pack up items she bought for both OP and her and items they bought together? Sylvia needs to take OP to court if thats the case. Karmas a you know what and he deserves this. No, no, I think it was a typo for Kodos, so yes, Kodos to this sociopath.
Or better yet, both of them. Anyone gonna touch on the fact that he had a conversation about the relationship with literally the internet before uttering a sentence to her? You may indeed be heartless, or just very inexperienced and naive. The event OP described is traumatic. Even taking into account the massive fiscal fallout? Yeah, emotional repercussions aside which would be perfectly reasonable , she could still be cleaning up the mess OP left behind.
The situation described would cause trauma, huge financial instability and trust problems. Gotta love how little personal responsibility this guy is taking even now. Speaking as an international school teacher who, of course, really, really wants to know what school this is! And this guy is in a small place, indeed. Talk about chickens coming home to roost.
I get that not working at this school will cause enormous difficulties for OP, but, well… those are the breaks. The only way one could professionally and morally justify not finding a new job would be if the consequences of finding that job were somehow worse than the consequences Sylvia faced when her partner literally disappeared one day.
That sets the bar extremely high, OP. Yeah, exactly. The fact is, OP, that to Silvia, you are a pretty horrible person because you did a very horrible thing. Certainly if someone had ever done to me or to someone that I care about what you did to Silvia, I would forever think of you as horrible. She may, if she is a saintly person, forgive you, but she will never forget — and why should she? My behavior then was inexcusable, and I have made an effort to leave behind the immature kid you knew and treat people with more respect.
Because there is no excuse. But you should plan on moving on next term. Karma, indeed. There are literally zillions of examples of people who were louses when it comes to personal relationships but who were nonetheless excellent leaders. Bill Clinton, for one. Similarly, there are people with lovely families who are utter failures professionally. Which may be a good thing for OP. I would write a letter, saying at length how much you regret what happened.
I disagree with the letter idea. The apologies already are going to sound hollow and self-serving as Alison pointed out and to do that in a letter now seems even more cowardly. I think an email offering to meet phone or face to face and have a chat is the better option. It would at least show a tiny bit more sincerity regardless of how hard it is going to be.
Yeah, this — if he was sorry, I assume at some point in the intervening ten-plus years he could have contacted Sylvia and apologized. Living together for two? If I were Sylvia I would not be inclined to be forgiving. Well to be honest, I would be forgiving but not forgetting. And even if I was so over this level of hurt and abandonment, I would have to be honest that it would color my perception of this person as his manager.
How reliable is he going to be in this role? Is he going to take his position seriously? Is life going to get to stressful for him again to where to where he bails? I mean honestly, to go to that length is not something your direct manager involved or not in it should really know about you. That is integrity. But I get it. And hope no one in that tight community decides to question your integrity if or when they find out about the circumstances. Hopefully though you have shown to be much more responsible and level headed since then.
This is a good point. OP has already established himself with Sylvia as a totally unreliable person. She has no other evidence to mitigate that perception regardless of what anyone else says. Sometimes, we are defined by one decision and the fall out of that decision will follow us the rest of our lives. It is character revealing, and will continue to define you as a person until you try to unselfishly make it right.
It might seem unfair, but if you cause someone pain, their impression of you will be forever colored by that pain.
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OP may or may not regret deeply what they did and realize that impact, but that is independent of this situation. I think having done One Horrible Thing should not forever paint the person as awful in any future interactions — many of us have one thing, that if we were judged on it would be found wanting! But, with the person directly affected, yeah, it does paint the person as awful forever because the emotions around it were so brutal. And you just gotta move on. That is how the world turns. You can move on without absolving someone of their bad acts.
That is not what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is letting the negative feelings go towards that person. That is all. Especially if he wants any hope to maintain his job long enough to find a new one. Lying is frequently socially appropriate. Is anyone else in the room looking for a new job? I think what he needs to do is genuinely WORK to realize that he acted in a way that was unconscionable. Whatever is best for them both. I speak as someone who has been ghosted multiple times, in past years, and it really does still hurt after all that time.
I do too. Not only will it sound hollow, I think it might come across as almost condescending at this point. I had an x do a really terrible thing, similar but different, almost 1o years ago. But do I crave an apology from him all these years later? Yes, OP should apologize, once, as sincerely as he can fake it calling a partner you walk out on after three years emotional for causing a scene when you could have been, idk, dead? It only requires two sentences. It was wrong of me. A long letter with explanations and apologies or whatever else would only piss me off further.
She knows it was all your fault.
She knows you were immature. It might be worth writing a letter so that she has some time to process this without you. Hearing from you might be something she would want to deal with privately. The email would be enough to allow her to process how she feels before responding to the LW. Ya know, I kind of agree with you. Open the dialogue first. I mean, you are going to have to have this conversation. Personally the absence of the word sorry would color my reception of the email.
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That puts all of the blame on the ex and takes no responsibility for the LW. There is no way to know whether the ex will have a hard time working with LW or not and to insinuate otherwise is a huge misstep in judgement. The ONLY way to sound sincere at all is to accept all responsibility for what happened and place zero blame on the ex. Check out medium. How would you rephrase it to get across the same intent but without appearing to place blame? There is no excuse for it. I hope we can put it behind us so we can work together.
To me, this letter sounds awfully condescending. It will give her the chance to process the information before responding to it.
If OP reaches out, it should be via a neutral communication method first to let Sylvia decide if and how she wants to move forward. My initial instinct was to say that you need to reach out to her ASAP and apologize for the way you treated her. Do not make excuses. Own the fact that you were a complete jerk in how you handled things. I think that focusing on the short term is going to be key if there is any chance of this working out. If you focus on the professional aspect of the situation, and keep the context short term, there is a slim chance you can make it through this school term.
Why would she be sympathetic to his professional needs? She has professional needs too. It might be difficult for her to find another teacher at the last minute. That difficulty might be worth it to her not to have to work with LW, though. If she comes in and immediately fires a teacher, she now has to deal with staffing those classes, finding a replacement, and dealing with any parental fall-out which is definitely a thing at private schools; especially the the teacher was popular or highly regarded.
She tracked me down and made several scenes in front of my parents and friends.
What Happens When You Ghost An Ex And She Becomes Your Boss | Men’s Health
I agree that if the OP focuses on the short term and keeping it professional, there is a chance she decides it is in both of their best interest to play nice; which gives him time to find a new job, and her time to find a new replacement and build a reputation among the community. If it was just his, that would be a little different.
Realistically, it might just let them both save a bit of trouble by letting him leave at the end of a term; best case scenario, that gives them time to discover that things are less awkward than they thought. I completely agree! OP has not expressed any real remorse that I can see, and does not deserve any consideration from Sylvia, not even terse professionalism. After the horrible experience that I put you through when I abandoned you without any notice ten years ago, of course, you cannot be expected to have to work with me now.
It is my intention to begin a search for a new job immediately, but I do not want to leave [SCHOOL] in the lurch — I would like to think I have grown and learned from my mistakes since you last saw me. Please let me know if you prefer that I should tender my resignation immediately, or if I should plan to go ahead and work through the upcoming term. Does anyone else wonder if or hope that! Sylvia is also a reader of AAM, so now the cat is out of the bag, anyway? The only appropriate thing he can do is leave. Somebody is going to eventually leave because there is no way this is going to work long term.
If he were my employee and I found out he did this and was so unrepentant about it — which is how he comes across to me — it would impact my ability to trust him. I think his long term prospects in this company, maybe even in the field, are toast when people find out what he did. This is so far outside the range of normal behavior that it will send off alarm bells. It does OP no good to sugarcoat that. Yeah, the OP is going to have to leave. I still believe apologizing is important, though, which is not the same as asking forgiveness.
The forgiveness is all in her ballpark, and really, forgiving someone is about you and not the person being forgiven.
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You can forgive someone with or without an apology, and you can withhold forgiveness with or without an apology. But Sylvia deserves an apology. I would expect one. I agree about reaching out before hand. Crazy thing all those years ago, huh? She will need to process this, even just a little.
So you should give her the time to do so. She will need time to decide for herself if this is going to work. It is time to give her this. You do not get to call her crazy or claim that she stalked you or speak about her as if she were anything but an absolutely lovely woman who you unfortunately wronged years ago. Write those feelings in a diary or call someone from home. You already screwed her over massively once, you do not get to tarnish her reputation in her new community, even by planting tiny little seeds of negative comments to people you think you can trust.
Hopefully you can work neutrally enough with your ex so you can get out on your own terms. I have no additional advice, and my shoulders are up by my ears with the awkwardness of it all! Good luck, OP. Even if she is perfectly happy and has completely made peace with what happened, seeing you is going to be a shock to the system. You messed up big time and you get credit for admitting that , so do the hard part and make the first step. I think that any person with a half brain writing in to AAM is going to recognize that what they did in this situation was wrong.
I think most people know basic right and wrong and know when have done something awful. All this is for the OP is fall out for when you have decided to treat another human being in a horrible manner. People are very good at rationalizing the way the treat other people. Just ask any lawyer in private practice how often clients leave out important information because it might make them look bad.
That is why they are leaving it out. People know right from wrong. A lot of people have very skewed moral compasses. Even more judge other by different standards than they judge themselves. Not full blown sociopaths, but on a spectrum. I will agree with you that sociopathy is on a continuum, but even sociopaths for the most part are aware of what is socially considered what is right and what is wrong. People like to spin things. God knows my recent ex did. But deep down inside? He was wrong and he knows it.
That is why they lie. That is why they spin the truth. That is why they do all these face-saving actions. They freaking know, and this is their way of living with it. I think you are thinking more a long the lines of people who exist who are devoid of rational thought. That is very different. Plenty of people are devoid of rational thought, and yeah nuanced situation play to their spins.
You do not do that. Yeah, no credit for meeting the absolute bare minimum standard to which all non-sociopathic persons should be expected to meet. That letter about the manager who tormented the pretty coworker is haunting. Intentionally and persistently harming another innocent person is one. No pats on the head for seeking advice when horrendous behavior causes trouble. Advice, yes, but no kudos or head pats. Agree, less than zero credit is deserved. The only reason he is coming clean now about what he did is because he has been backed into the smallest corner imaginable.
No credit or pats on the head. His only hope is his ex is a much bigger person than he and has put his behavior behind her. They did as much smack-talking of Sylvia as they did any sort of self-critique. They seem to think this was an etiquette breach, rather than a truly cruel, traumatic offense.
Anything else will just be digging a deeper and deeper hole. This guy reminds me of many cheaters, especially the rich white male ones. Thank you! It might not feel fair, but is… Really is, in a lot of ways. If we move in with someone they tend to start thinking Long Term. All that being said, I think you need to reach out to her and acknowledge that you did a horrible thing and ask how you can work together professionally now.
Yeah, absconding out of the country is the nuclear option of not actually breaking up with someone. Ghosting on someone basically guarantees there will be drama. It may feel good or seem easier in the short term, but long term it comes back to bite you in the ass something I learned the hard way. Very well said. Just no justification for ghosting in any long term serious association, work related or otherwise. This is much, much worse than quitting without notice. A job is a business agreement, a long-term relationship is much, much more significant.
Yeah, this is more like the way Milton quit without notice in Office Space. Out of fear that I might jeopardise my position by doing something stupid, I asked management for a transfer to a sister school. Some end up being friends or very good colleagues… but there are people you break up with and pray to God never to see them again. According to an account executive of a leading Public Relations agency in Nairobi, organisations that employ a lot of young people are prone to have this type of relationships.
The Twitter bigwig, who asked for anonymity, explained that millennials are always hooking up and breaking up in quick succession, to the point where a middle-level team leader will have two or more exes among his or her team. Amos Wainaina is dating a lady who has not been on an office trip for over a year now.
According to the cab driver, the lady has been frustrated by her boss to the point that she is contemplating resigning from her position as the company deputy HR officer. They broke up over his infidelity and he vowed to make life difficult for her. Her name was usually the first in the list, and of course she was viewed favourably. Amos, who has met the man twice while picking his girlfriend from the office, expressed his own concerns about the lack of trips.
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Worse still are those instances where an ex is promoted within the organisation, giving them the opportunity to exert payback for all wrongs that happened during the affair; real or imagined. There have been numerous cases where the entire office figures out whenever two exes are fighting over past issues, say at a meeting. Usually, weird glances are exchanged by those colleagues who are watching and the drama provides fodder for office gossip.
When Christine was promoted at her place of work when they were renewing her contract, many of her colleagues suspected that it was because of her more-than-normal relationship with her immediate supervisor.