Ask Amy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: My wife of many years put in her two weeks' notice yesterday.

She was discussing a project with her boss, and he would not move forward on it. Then he raised his voice a couple of times and hung up on her.

She says this has happened many times.

Coincidentally, several years ago I worked for another company related to the company my wife works for, and my boss at one point cursed and raised his voice big time with me. I have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior.

My former boss and that company were very lucky I didn't resign and sue them!

My wife and I are in a racial minority; those two bosses are Caucasian and from military backgrounds. They are settled into the "good old boy system."

I'm sure if my wife went to her HR department, they probably wouldn't find many complaints on her boss and his attitude (for various reasons), but I'm ready to say what the hell and sue the life out of them. I'm also inclined to sue the company I used to work for, while I'm at it.

What do you think?

— Tired

DEAR TIRED: You don't present any evidence that your wife is a victim of racism or that she has been singled out for unfair treatment. Her boss might be a jerk — or not a very good boss — but the standard for suing a company on discriminatory grounds is much higher than what you present, and the time to investigate and document this is while you're on the job — not after you have turned in your notice.

Furthermore, your choice to throw down the race card instead of playing the hand you're dealt is offensive and an affront to people who really are discriminated against in the workplace.

Work is hard. That's why they call it work. Anyone who has ever held a job has encountered colleagues or supervisors who are unpleasant, rude or incompetent. It's not a crime to be obnoxious — or a bad manager.

Any complaints your wife might lodge with HR could benefit future employees, but she doesn't seem to have developed a case against her boss.


DEAR AMY: I have been living with my paramour for almost three years. We are both in our 50s. We dated for two years before that.

He is still married, despite a lengthy legal separation. He often says it is "time to do something" about that, but that is as far as it goes.

I want more than just a roommate. I want someone who values our life together.

I'm not getting any younger. If something happens to him, I'm stuck. I would not be able to pay the rent on our home or the payment on the vehicle, etc., without his sharing in the cost.

I love him dearly, and he says he loves me too. But I find myself wondering — am I all alone in this relationship?

How do I broach this subject without sounding needy and greedy — or is that what I am being?

— Need to Know

DEAR NEED: The best time to broach this would have been before you moved in together and commingled your personal lives and finances.

Raising this issue now doesn't make you sound needy; it makes you sound like someone who made an error in judgment who needs to make some changes.

You should take steps to untangle your finances, look for an affordable place to live (the rental housing market is particularly good now) and tell your guy that you adore him but that you made a mistake to move in together. Tell him he should get in touch when he's no longer married.


DEAR AMY: "Nice Niece" wondered if she should keep sending Christmas cards to her late aunt's husband, whom she barely knew. I think she should.

After our son died, our Christmas cards dropped dramatically. I think people felt awkward sharing the good things in their lives, and I understand that, but it hurt our feelings.

This niece should continue to send her cards. She risks the cost of the postage, and he might really appreciate her contact.

— Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree. Thank you for giving us the benefit of your perspective.

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