Bad Advice Club: I'm in love with my boss - do I leave my job?

5 mins
20 Jan 2023
Bad Advice Club: I'm in love with my boss - do I leave my job?

Woo's resident agony aunt helps one hopeless romantic navigating their workplace crush...

image Team Woo

words Chanté Joseph

I’m Chanté – writer, presenter, internet addict. I write a lot about relationships, internet trends and being the best, most delusional version of yourself. So welcome to the Bad Advice Club: I’m here to give you some loving advice on your life problems. Listen, I am by no means perfect, but I think that makes me ideal to assist you in navigating tricky issues because nine times out of 10, I’ve been there! Bad advice, bad decisions – these are the twists and turns that make life sweet. So let’s ride it out together: I have some gems to drop, so don’t be shy and send in your stories, woes, dilemmas.

I got a new manager a couple of months ago at work and what started as a little crush to pass the time on my shift has started to seriously take over my life. I'm fairly sure he has a girlfriend (but who knows?) but I can't help thinking about him when I'm not on shift, look forward to seeing him whenever I clock on and get all awkward and shy whenever I speak to him. I seriously think I care more about seeing him than I do about my actual job. Which leads me to the following: am I just obsessing over this guy to create some spice because I'm feeling dissatisfied with my work more generally? Should I leave my job? Or work on trying to change this infatuation so I can more clearly assess?

I love the euphoric feeling of a crush, the sweaty palms and mincing my words when I speak. I miss the feeling of becoming aware of myself and constantly correcting my posture when they’re around. I’d spend hours over-analysing every small interaction and romanticising every little thing they did. I cannot remember the last time I had an intense crush, so I am very much envious of your current situation. Crushes make you feel alive, they’re healthy and normal, and we don’t have to give them so much weight. A work crush like this is one I call a "crush of convenience" rather than something more profound that you need to fixate on. You see your boss most days and probably spend more time with him than your family and friends, so naturally, you might invent and exacerbate feelings that you otherwise wouldn’t have in a different context.

I can confidently say that you’re not in love, and a crush doesn’t have to be completely life-altering. Sometimes shift work can be boring, and we let our minds wander to pass the time by allowing our imagination to become a reality. Your feelings for this authority figure are probably a mixture of curiosity and a lack of options, which isn’t uncommon. If this crush is getting in the way of your work and you simply cannot function, then understandably, it might be time to move on. However, it seems like you’re still getting the job done; ultimately, that’s the most important thing here. Sure, you think about them and look forward to seeing them, but you have an entire life outside of work that will present many opportunities for appropriate crushes.

" Look at the current state of the economy; it just isn’t sustainable to quit your job every single time you have a crush on a coworker"

Work crushes are intensified because we see these people every day. It’s why your first love from school or college felt so all-consuming; you can’t escape this person, and you have to confront these uncontrollable feelings, which can feel incredibly difficult. When I worked an office job as an intern, I had a fleeting crush on the cute guy a few desks down, we didn’t speak much, but when we did, I felt my entire body burn up. It was euphoric. I used to send my friends dissertation-length write-ups of how they asked me to make a stationery order or the way he dropped off receipts for me to send over to accounts. I left that job and only remembered this crush when I read your letter so I wouldn’t be too fussed over this situation.

The latter suggestion to work on dealing with this fixation is the better option. Look at the current state of the economy; it just isn’t sustainable to quit your job every single time you have a crush on a colleague or a coworker. I know we’ve slowly become a generation of chronic job-hoppers, but I think this might be a little extreme. I’m imploring you to see this through because crushes fade fast, especially when we start seeing people as they are not what we’ve romanticised them to be. Maybe you start talking to this person more and realise they’re not as interesting as you imagined them. Or maybe you find a new hottie to fixate on, and this one fades into nothing. Use this work crush as an opportunity to interrogate these feelings and find healthier ways to see them, though, rather than run away every time it crops up.

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