What to do when your boss is a perv with a lesbian fetish.

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Dear Lindsey,

I have a job I like that pays decently. My plan has been to stay here for a couple more years and build up a good amount of savings, then quit to travel before I go to graduate school. However, a recent turn of events has me rethinking this. My department got a new manager around the new year. At first, I was excited about this guy because he made an effort to get to know everyone in the department and he was easy to talk to and totally approachable – a definite change from the old manager, who was pretty checked out. Anyway, we developed a friendly working relationship, we have some interests in common, and over time we started talking about our relationships – my office is very open. I’ve always felt comfortable being out at work, and my new manager is super liberal so I didn’t think he’d bat an eye. He didn’t…quite the opposite in fact. Over the last month he’s been asking more questions about my relationship, mostly innocent stuff like “what did you and your girlfriend do this weekend?” We’d go out for drinks after work now and then with some other people in the department. I was working late last week and I went to drop some stuff off in his office. The light was still on so I walked right in and happened to see his laptop was open to some pretty intense girl on girl action. I got the hell out of there, and he was so engrossed in watching that I don’t think he noticed me. I tried to block this out, but now I see his interest in me in a new light. Every time he asks about my girlfriend now I get squeaked out imagining him jacking off to some lesbian fantasy. I don’t want my relationship to be part of his wank files, but if I pull back from our friendly banter now, he’ll ask why. How do I navigate my pervy boss for the next two years?

A

Hey A,

I feel for you. You saw something gross, you feel some kind of way about it, and you can’t move forward pretending you didn’t unsee it. So where do you go from here?

You can investigate the job market. Assuming you could find an equivalent job and salary, you could give some other place your two more years and save up your kitty. Keeping your options open could alleviate the ickiness you feel by giving you back some of your power. It’s not gonna hurt to check things out.

You could talk to your manager about his behavior. He’s never going to approach you and ask if you saw him watching porn, so you would have to initiate the conversation. Bringing it up would, in theory, cause him to think twice about watching porn at work, but it will probably just make him lock the door first and be a super uncomfortable conversation for you. But it is an option.

You could also go to HR and let someone there know what you saw, then leave them to deal with it. That really depends on your HR department: their competence, your level of trust in them, etc. Your manager could be disciplined or fired, depending on your organization’s policies and what they’re willing to do. IT could crawl his keystrokes or browser history to verify your story, but if your HR department is staffed with untrained or disinterested professionals, then I wouldn’t expect anything to happen. If that would add to your pain, then don’t tell them about it — yet.

IT could crawl his keystrokes or browser history to verify your story, but if your HR department is staffed with untrained or disinterested professionals, then I wouldn’t expect anything to happen. If that would add to your pain, then don’t tell them about it — yet.

What you’re most uncomfortable with is not that he was watching porn at work, though, it’s the lesbian content and his interest in you and your girlfriend – which you took for support from the management. So I’d suggest dialing back the talk about your girlfriend, at least with him. You don’t have to answer his questions with anything more than a “Fine” or “Yeah, our weekend was good, you?”

Perhaps avoid the group drinks until you get some distance from this incident. Be professional, smile when you decline to chitchat, offer up stress or workload as an excuse for why you can’t chat if he calls you on your behavior change. Focus on the long-term: Two more years and you’re out. It’s not worth altering your plan because you have a pervy boss with a lesbian fetish.

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