Ask Amy: Working from Home Reveals Rude Wife
When that work side of your spouse isn't exactly what you thought it would be
Dear Amy: Working from home during the pandemic has given me a glimpse into how my wife conducts business.
She is often rude to her customers and co-workers, with a particularly annoying habit of loudly talking over them to try and gain the verbal upper hand. She also frequently battles with her boss instead of trying to work to mutually agreeable solutions.
I’ve tried to offer suggestions and techniques from my years of corporate experience but am waved off.
The company she works for is small, poorly run, and the level of professionalism is generally low, which is why I’m sure she wasn’t fired a long time ago. But who knows what the future holds? We need both of our incomes right now.
I’m at a loss about how to handle this when I see and hear these cringe-worthy mistakes.
Should I just keep my mouth shut?
She’s probably a year away from retirement and I doubt she’s going to change, but she’s always frustrated and crabby at the end of the day, and I know a large part of that is how she conducts herself.
– Jaw Dropped in Denver
Dear Jaw Dropped: I’m assuming that your wife’s behavior also surfaces during your domestic life. Is she rude to wait staff at restaurants, prickly toward medical personnel, or impatient and imperious when negotiating home repairs with service workers? Does she talk over you in an effort to get the upper hand in a conversation?
Perhaps you assumed that she would behave differently (as most of us do) when at work.
It reminds me that most of us show our best, most restrained and polite behavior at work, when dealing with co-workers and customers, and then come home and growl at our families. But all of us should work hard not to growl at all.
I agree with your perceptive assessment that your wife’s rude and unprofessional behavior is actually causing her to feel more frustrated and angry at the end of the day. That is because she is not actually “winning” at work. She cannot close out her work days with the memory of successful interactions and positive feedback. Instead she carries with her the vestiges of constant conflict. What a burden!
If challenged, she might agree to putting a mirror at her workstation, or having you videotape a typical call. Do so without comment. Watching her own face and body language, and hearing her rudeness might inspire her to behave differently.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
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