Ask A Manager is always a good resource for sticky workplace questions, but some days there is such a gem of a question that we all need to quit whatever we were working on and fall deep into its enticing spiral. Today is one such day, and it is brought to you by the letter K for Karma.
The question comes from a man, let’s call him Bronathan, who ghosted his ex a decade ago. Boo, but fine, we’ve all done irresponsible stuff in relationships before. Please nobody ask anyone what I was like in love 10 years ago. Anyway, Bronathan is writing because PLOT TWIST his ex, Sylvia, is now going to be his director at work.
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Awkward, but not horrible. We’re all adults, right? Well, that would be the case, except Bronathan was with Sylvia for THREE YEARS. AND THEY LIVED TOGETHER FOR TWO. AND HE LITERALLY MOVED OUT WITHOUT TELLING HER WHILE SHE WAS ON WINTER BREAK. Here is how he puts it:
“Over the Christmas break, while she was visiting her family, I simply moved out and left the country. I took advantage of the fact that I accepted a job in other country and did not tell her about it. I simply wanted to avoid being untangled in a break-up drama. Sylvia was rather emotional and became obsessed with the relationship, tracking me down, even causing various scenes with my parents and friends.”
Let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that he wrote that. He wrote that! He just sat down and typed that like it was an unfortunate, but not utterly baffling thing to do to a person. “Rather emotional” YEAH YOU THINK? If you have been living with someone for two years and they just disappear without any trace, yes you would probably be emotional because you’d assume they were kidnapped or dead! Not that they were like, “hmm I love her but I don’t LOVE her, you know?” and left the country.
Ask A Manager’s Alison Green recognizes that there is no way Bronathan comes out on top here. “Normally I’m a fan of people putting aside personal emotions in order to conduct themselves professionally, but I don’t even know what that would look like for Sylvia in this situation,” she writes. “She’s most likely going to be shocked and horrified when she finds out that you work at her school, and that she’s supposed to manage you.”
Sylvia, if you’re out there, energy of this week’s eclipse shines on you, and you may do with Bronathan what you like. If a decade of growth and acceptance allow you to work with Bronathan with no problem, you are all the better for it and may the spirits bless and keep you. But if you want to spend your entire career rubbing your success in his face, then the righteous anger of hundreds of commenters will guide your tongue.
Anyway, this is why you don’t ghost! Also, Sylvia, please call us.