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Boss’s wife visits wearing tacky, indecent outfits!

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Dear Office-Politics,

My husband works in the oil and gas industry and mentioned one day that his boss’s wife showed up to the office in top form, wearing an indecent outfit. Since then, this mid-40 housewife is known to visit every day in tacky outfits and spending several hours around the office. It has left a bad taste in many of the other housewives and concerned employees against this inappropriate behavior, but no one knows how to approach the situation. Should anything be said to the boss?


Simmering Spouse

OFFICE-POLITICS ADVISER Timothy Johnson response:
timothy johnsonDear Spouse, The short answer…. “um… yes.” The long answer of things you may not want to hear…
First, your letter is indicative of a larger problem in organizations; namely, this letter wasn’t written by one of the employees or by the boss; it was written by a spouse of an employee. In many organizations, we run the risk of “playing telephone” so the actual situation may be vastly different from what Ted’s wife told her hairdresser, who then relayed to her stepson’s girlfriend’s substitute part-time dog-walker. This is not to say you are not genuinely concerned, but you have to ask yourself (and the “other housewives”) if this is really your battle to fight… Read full reply

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  1. 3 Answers to “Boss’s wife visits wearing tacky, indecent outfits!”


    @mgifford: @dearOP In any situation where non-employees are showing up & distracting from work it’s appropriate to mention concern, especially 2 boss!

    By Twitter: @mgifford on Jan 19, 2010

  3. Dear Simmering Spouse,

    To my understanding the said situation is to first identify why she is appearing daily in the office. Find the root factor then make the strategy accordingly.

    Let me tell you how would i do it if I were you. I would go to the boss and in between discussions i would try to find out whether the boss is having something wrong with his relation with his wife or not? Then try to explain the situation and also tell him that our staff are getting disturbed and losing efficiency — or may be missing deadlines because of interruptions by his wife.

    I do not know if you would consider it or not.

    By Imran siddiqui on Jan 19, 2010

  4. Dear Simmering Spouse,

    I am assuming that the reason you are so concerned about your husbands work environment is that he is complaining to you about it. Personally, I think your husband and you should stay out of it – it is a lot easier to control our own actions than those of others; can he try not to engage her or politely tell her he would love to chat but is working to a deadline etc. Someone at work is encouraging her or she wouldn’t spend so much time there.

    If this does not work and it is bothering your husband specifically and it is totally unbearable and it is disruptive, then he has 2 choices (1) talk to his boss directly and make light of it – something subtle – i.e. we need to find your charming wife a job here since she is here so much (and see what he says) etc etc. or she is so engaging that he is concerned that people are not getting their work done etc etc. or (2) get some advice from someone who is close to the boss as to how best to approach and ideally have someone else do it. I’d be worried about the messenger getting shot. Also don’t count on the boss necessarily being motivated to change things – he make like having her there or he may not have a say. You may want to stay away from mentioning the clothing – taste is a personal thing.

    On another note, any chance you or some of the other housewives could carve out a bit of time to drop by at an opportune time and invite her out for coffee or something and get to know her – she sounds like she doesn’t have a whole lot else to do and might really like that and you’d be helping out your husband by getting a bit more info about why she is hanging out at work so much. I suspect she could use the company. I am recommending you and your husband tread very carefully and do a bit of detective work to understand the situation better before you jump in with both feet. This is one situation where being direct may not be the best way to go.

    Good Luck!

    By Cheryl on Jan 19, 2010

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