Coworker Used Sex To Take My Job From Me!

Question:

I have been working at my job for about fourteen years and I have been the manager for the past six years, until today. I lost my management position today because of Jane, who is currently dating the one guy that is above me, John. (John and Jane have been dating for about three years now and for the past two years Jane has been working under me.)

John gave her the job two years ago and he told me she would be working here part time only. A month went by and she told John that she wants to make more money. The very next day John told me Jane was going to be working full time so I might have to give up a day or two of work so that Jane can have more working days. This whole time I kept my cool and just went with the flow. All the rest of the employees could see what was going on but nobody said anything because they didn’t want to lose their jobs.

I gave Jane the benefit of the doubt and even when I saw changes going on I kept my cool. Then Jane and I started talking and getting to know each other and we even became friends. One day we were talking and I asked her, “What are you trying to do, get my position?” I told her the way she was going about getting it was just wrong. Jane says to me, “Well, if you had been the boss I would be sleeping with YOU, but oh well.” So now today comes and I show up to work and John comes up to me and says to me, “From now on Jane will be taking over your job; you are no longer in charge.” This is where I should have lost my cool but instead I say, “Fantastic, good for you.” It would be OK if she could do the job better than I do, and I’m not saying I’m the best, but neither is Jane. Jane just says that her way is better.

I can’t take much more and it looks like from reading some of the other question I can’t do anything about it. If there is anything I can do, please let me know because I’m not sure how much more of this is I can take. I’m trying to look at this from every angle and I can’t see myself taking orders from Jane.

Signed,

Losing My Cool


Answer:

Dear Losing My Cool:

Whether there is anything you can try to do depends upon the nature of your employment. It doesn’t sound as though your company is a large one with multiple layers of managers and a Human Resources section to oversee hiring and promotions. So, you will probably not have anyone to which you can appeal this recent decision.

If John owns the business he can assign work and make promotions as he chooses, unless there is some clear racial or gender discrimination. If the business is a larger one and there is someone higher in rank than John, that person might not like the way John has handled things and you could inform that person of all that has happened and ask for a review.

From John’s perspective, based on what you wrote, you have never complained or pushed back on any of his actions. Even when being demoted you essentially stepped back and said, “Good for you” to Jane. So, he may feel that you don’t care or that at least you won’t give him any grief over his actions; and Jane WILL give him grief if she doesn’t get her way. Apparently there is also some question about whether you or Jane can do the best job in the management position, even though you think it’s just her opinion that she can do the job better. It could be that John agrees with Jane and since it’s his company or since he’s in charge of the work, he’s decided to make the change.

The bottom line, sadly, is that no matter what the personal lives of Jane and John, John apparently has the power to hire and promote and has used it to help Jane. He could have done the same thing with any friend and you’d be in the same situation. That’s one of the problems with working for a small business.

I wish there were something I could tell you that would make it easier for you to face taking direction from Jane. If she has become your friend, she will hopefully try to make it easier for you to deal with it. If you have a marketable skill, you may find you would rather leave there and find work somewhere else. But most likely you would be working for another small company and might find the same thing happening there.

I do think that at this point you should finally talk to John about how you feel over what has happened. It won’t change things right now, but at least he will know that you care and that you feel you have been treated unfairly. That might make a difference in what he does when he and Jane break up or if they get married and she quits, or all the other things that might happen in the future. If you want to stay there or must stay there, you can at least keep yourself a strong contender for the management position.

I know you’re frustrated, hurt and angry. See if you can keep yourself motivated to support the employees you’ve managed all along and help them while you’re helping yourself. Best wishes to you through this.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.