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Being the boss's wife

(14 Posts)
kaffkooks Sun 02-Nov-14 14:25:12

My dh and another guy started a tech company a few years ago which has gone from strength to strength. They now employ 4 geeks and a couple of other staff. I have my own career and a child but it's getting to Christmas again which means going to dh's work party. Last year I realised that dh's employees were restrained around me and I think it's because they see me as the boss's wife. I also notice it whenever I pop into dh's office. I find this really odd as I'm younger than most of them and it makes me awkward. What's the best way to make everyone feel more at ease and stop me from saying anything stupid! Doesn't help that I'm rubbish at small talk so I never know what to chat to people about.

Hoppinggreen Sun 02-Nov-14 18:19:06

You could make sure you don't call them geeks for a start.

Itsnoteasybeinggreen Sun 02-Nov-14 18:20:52

You could make sure you don't call them geeks for a start.
This!

JimmySilentHill Sun 02-Nov-14 18:21:22

Ha ha I was going to say the same thing grin

Itsnoteasybeinggreen Sun 02-Nov-14 18:26:01

Oh and by the way... I've had many bosses in my time with many a wife or husband. I've not ever felt that I have to behave a certain way or be restrained because someone happens to be married to my boss.

It's probably because (by your own admission) you're rubbish at small talk that they don't feel they know or can chat to you.

Oh and the geek thing... I'm a physicist so to some people I would imagine they assume I am a geek or nerd. I'm neither thanks very much. Just because the company is tech doesn't mean you can refer to them as geeks. It's disrespectful.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 02-Nov-14 18:26:20

My husband is the boss too and he told me off last week for not being friendly enough! To be honest I am not remotely bothered if they like me or not! Why do you want to get involved? I would just go and be civil and not worry about it.

Teeb Sun 02-Nov-14 18:29:28

They aren't your friends though, all these occasions ask for is being polite and not creating any drama.

Bigleap Sun 02-Nov-14 18:48:14

Teeb has it.

Personally, I think the best work dos are the ones where spouses aren't invited at all. It's not because you're the boss' wife, it's because they don't know you. Everyone's a bit uneasy around strangers especially geeks

JustSayNoNoNo Sun 02-Nov-14 23:10:02

I'm younger ...and it makes me awkward
I'm rubbish at small talk

The above shows you think the event is about you.. It's not. It's their event. Stop labelling the staff as 'geeks'. They are all human beings.

How about smiling, and ask them how they are spending Christmas? What are they looking forward to in the New Year?

I've never been the boss's wife, so I can't relate, but the questions above have got me through a number of occasions where I have had to talk to people I didn't know.

MrsBertMacklin Sun 02-Nov-14 23:17:33

I would be minding what I say around my boss' partner. I would want to leave a good impression in any event and depending on the person in question, I might also be wary that whatever I say is fed back.

As others have said, it's their party not yours and speaking frankly, they probably want to 'do their duty', exchange 5 minutes of conversation with you so they can get back to their friends and relaxing for the evening.

Talk subjects - bone up on whatever the big TV shows in the weeks running up to the party are. Ask lots of questions about the person you're talking to, e.g. how has their year been, what are their Christmas plans, New Year's plans etc.

Ask DH for a potted update on people so you can ask personalised questions, e.g. if someone's child's started school that year, how is DC getting on'.

Make it about them, not you.

GallbladderFairy Sun 02-Nov-14 23:25:23

My boss bought his girlfriend into work. We all took the piss out of him! (In front of her! grin if you have that type of relationship with your dh! perhaps do that?

and the upside of being the bosses wife is that they all buy you drinks all night, or at least, it worked with me when dh was the boss!

lottiegarbanzo Sun 02-Nov-14 23:25:47

My female programmer friend is very far from being a 'geek' (has wide interests, great social skills and would be the life and soul of the party and bring you out of your shell). Tech expert / programmer does not equal 'geek', being 'geeky' does not make someone better at technical tasks than someone who has other skills in addition and (returning from tangent), labelling people and viewing them as stereotypes won't help you find areas of common interest conversationally.

Make an effort to brush up your small talk, essentially. Ask questions, listen attentively to the answers = people will like you, pretty much.

YonicScrewdriver Sun 02-Nov-14 23:28:40

"and I think it's because they see me as the boss's wife."

Well, you are!

Assume you have a boss where you work? Would you be polite to his wife/her husband but avoid telling the latest gossip or whatever? I expect so.

Unexpected Sun 02-Nov-14 23:43:09

You don't mention the other spouses/partners at all. Do they also attend the Christmas party? If not, why do you have to attend? If that is the situation, I can see why it is awkward, they probably feel like Victorian lackeys receiving largesse from the lady of the manor come calling! If the other spouses attend, can you not talk to them about Christmas plans, children, where they work etc? TBH, I think the idea of partners attending Christmas work parties is outdated and neither enjoyed or appreciated by either the employee or their other half. Do you have to go?

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