We’ve all been there: You’re about to go over sales tactics for the fall quarter when your boss comments with a sigh that he and Carol just don’t talk anymore. Even though he’s your direct supervisor, your boss has decided that you’re the perfect candidate to hear all about his troubled marriage! Although he claims there’s nothing skeezy going on—you just get him, you know? Here are some tips for looking busy when he stops by your desk to unload some way too private information!
Invest in headphones!
Nothing says “I’m very, very focused on my work right now, definitely can’t talk, sorry!” like a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Your boss can’t make weird remarks about how you’re a much better listener than his wife if you’re not able to listen!
Fake a conference call!
When your boss catches you in the break room microwaving leftovers and tries to comment that Diane never lets him eat anything “fun” anymore, simply shout “Oh no, the conference call! The conference call with New York!” and run out of the room with no further explanation. You’ll have to hold your phone to your ear and pretend to have a conversation for the next hour or so, but it’s worth it!
Pretend you don’t know how anything works!
If your boss corners you by the copier saying that he never knew he could feel lonely even when someone else is sleeping next to him, just pretend you don’t know how your office equipment functions! Say something like: “Oh my god, this stupid thing!” over and over as you open and shut every panel and tray table. He’ll quickly decide that divulging marital details that he definitely wouldn’t share with a male subordinate isn’t worth having to help with a paper jam, and wander off.
Try to stand next to a picture of his daughter and hope it reminds him you are the same age!
It’s harder to look distracted when your boss turns a one-on-one meeting into an unwanted emotional unloading/plausibly deniable way of seeing if you’re up for an affair, but if he happens to have a picture of his family on his desk, use it to your advantage! Angle yourself so that he can’t look at you without also looking at a picture of his twenty-four-year-old daughter. He would never want an older man burdening her with his sorrows while simultaneously trying to fuck her, would he?
The next time your boss asks why all women can’t be more like you, you’ll be prepared with these tips! Don’t you love that in addition to your job, you also get to do all this emotional labor? Office win!