(Closed) Privacy at Work, Keeeping Boss Out of My Personal Life

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
8738 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

@threefifteen: Are you sure it’s nosiness and not him trying to be your friend (as well as your boss)?

We spend so much of our time at work, we sometimes make some of our best friendships there.

Maybe your boss is trying to be friends with her co-workers?

I feel like questions about your Fiance and your family are just a way to make conversation.

Once you accept invitations to spend time with people outside of the office, you are indication you are willing to have some conversational give and take (that usually involves revealing some information about yourself/your family).

Post # 4
Member
1927 posts
Buzzing bee

I think she’s just trying to be friendly.  Honestly, I think these are pretty typical small talk kinds of questions.  I’m quite sure she didn’t mean to pry, as I think most people would not consider this to be nosy.  She’s just trying to get to know you.  Since her behaviour is pretty normal, if you are uncomfortable I think you’re going to have to just flat out tell her that you prefer to keep your personal life 100% separate from your work life. 

Post # 5
Member
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

You could always say due to your parents occupations, you’re not at liberty to discuss your family life.  That’ll really get her thinking… lol

Post # 6
Member
2714 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Honestly she sounds like she is trying to be friendly, but I will tell you that I understand how you feel. I keep my personal life incredibly private around the office. I didn’t even tell anyone that I was engaged. I mean eventually they found out cuz I was suddenly sporting a diamond, but I hear you on the privacy thing. I just keep my answers as brief as possible and change the subject to something work related. There have been a few occasions where I’ve said “I’d rather not talk about that right now.” or something along those lines.

Post # 7
Member
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

If you’re uncomfortable with those types of questions, you’ll have to talk to her about it.  She likely doesn’t mean anything by it, and will continue to ask about your family.  It will eventually get very awkward to have to dodge the questions at work and at social functions, so you may as well come clean now that it makes you uncomfortable.

Post # 8
Member
2018 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

If your boss invited you to a social gathering where everyone else brought their SOs then I can see why she would ask where your Fiance was (presuming she knows you have one).  I think she is just being friendly and wants to get to know you, especially since you work for her and it’s normal for her to want to know what makes you tick as an employee.

Even though what you do outside the office is your business, the person you are outside the office gives clues to how you will function at work. You can always just give her enough information to satisfy her natural curiousity without giving away too much.

Post # 10
Member
8738 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

@threefifteen: Some people are more interested in really getting to know their employees and some aren’t.

She probably is just trying to be friendly. When I got engaged many of the women at work wanted to know all about wedding plans, etc while the men weren’t really all that interested.

Just let her know you’d rather not talk about your personal life. You may have to decline some social invitations if you do not want to make social small talk.

Also, I’ve found the shorter/briefer your answers the more likely someone is to ask follow up questions. So if you say, “my parents live in x area” a common follow up question would be “OH, where in x?”

Maybe I’m wrong, but I assume when someone tells me they grew up near x or their parent’s live around x they are not giving more detail because they are assuming I won’t know the area.

 

Post # 11
Hostess
16213 posts
Honey Beekeeper

Sounds like your new boss and co-workers aren’t necessarily wrong, they’re just different than what you’re used to. And that’s okay. It will take time to adjust, and you should never divulge any more than you’re comfortable. Just remember that you’re in a new place with new norms and see if you can strike a suitable work-life balance. 🙂

Post # 12
Member
5668 posts
Bee Keeper

@threefifteen: It really sounds like your boss is just trying to get to know you. I’m much the same way and will pick a topic and continue with it just to make conversation. You could either switch the topic or pull her aside and tell her you’re uncomfortable discussing your personal life. Honestly, I think the latter option may hurt her feelings if she’s just trying to get to know you like it seems she is.

Post # 15
Member
2018 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@threefifteen: Okay, yeah, she sounds a little too intrusive and I doubt she even realizes it.  But I think if you give her semi-vague answers and then change the subject to something more neutral she might get the hint eventually.

Post # 16
Member
8738 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

@threefifteen: It may be best to turn the questions back onto your boss when she’s getting into an area where you don’t want to talk about it. So rather than just giving short answer and somewhat inviting the next question, you can steer the conversation in a direction you are more comfortable in.

Yes, some “social” invitations are not necessarily optional. However, sometimes if you are too short with your answers you might be seen as anti-social or disinterested or even bordering on hostile.

You can be social and conversational without divulging a lot of personal information.

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