DEAR AMY: I work in a field that requires some travel, and while traveling with the company owner, “Beth” (20 years my junior), she requires that I share a hotel room with her.
She has no sense of personal boundaries and will leave the bathroom door open while using the toilet and yelling comments to me (not even my husband does this).
She also parades around the room in her thong (who wants to see your boss’s naked backside?) and tries to discuss her dating and/or sex life with me. I am usually hiding under the covers, claiming to be too tired.
When I asked for my own room recently, she said that it wasn’t in the budget and that she has to be careful with travel costs.
She also wants to share room service breakfasts. She will order one entree for us to share, and a pot of coffee. I made the in-room coffee and said that gave us a little extra money to work with and I would like to get my own breakfast, but she said she did not like the in-room coffee.
I would rather go out to a less expensive coffee shop and order what I choose to eat, but I am locked into her preferences. She once suggested I should stay with her brother when I traveled to another city in order to save money. I refused. (Oh, did I mention she bought a million-dollar home this year?)
I am actively seeking other employment, but I would appreciate any advice. -- Old Lady Undercover
DEAR LADY: Your boss sounds like a nightmare.
You have proved yourself able to refuse her, so can’t you say, for instance, “Hey, ‘Beth,’ you mind closing the door when you’re in the bathroom?” Or, “How’s about putting on a robe?” Because she forces you into such close proximity, you are forced to respond directly. You need to tell her, “This behavior makes me uncomfortable.”
And there is really no reason to share a breakfast entree with this woman. If I were in your shoes, I would pay for my own coffee and breakfast down in the coffee shop.
While at breakfast, I would be busy brushing up my resume and researching this behavior, which I believe easily rises to the level of legally actionable. She has created the very definition of a “hostile work environment.” Your boss may find that defending herself against a lawsuit would easily eat up all the money she is saving by sharing a hotel room.
You can learn more at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Web site, eeoc.gov (search the keyword “harassment”).
DEAR AMY: “Gifted” wrote about the challenge she and her elderly peers face receiving unwanted gifts each year.
My middle-aged peers and I also share a challenge. Many of us have parents/grandparents who we know do not need anything, but the problem is that many of us feel obligated to give a gift.
Gifted and her peers could do so much good by giving us their blessing to forgo the needless sentiments. Giving to charity is a lovely suggestion.
I sent both my parents and in-laws full frozen meals for their birthdays from a reputable distributor. The meal included a great cut of meat, a potato side dish, a vegetable and dessert or appetizer (based on their tastes). All they had to do was prepare the meal when, how and if they chose to eat it. This went over very well!
No more scented candles, I promise. -- Gifted at Giving
DEAR GIFTED: This sounds like such a treat!
Another great gift is the gift of time and attention. Gutter cleaning, clutter organizing, an afternoon devoted to bill paying or car maintenance — or treating a loved one to an afternoon at the opera — are all great gifts.
DEAR AMY: “No Fan of Facebook” wrote about a bully who created a false Facebook profile of her daughter.
Your advice to confront this was fine but, most important, this is against Facebook’s policies. This young woman should get booted from the site. -- Facebook Friend
DEAR FRIEND: I have checked Facebook’s policies and you are correct. Several readers suggested contacting Facebook about this violation.
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