Moises: What to do when your new boss is your ex

MAURINE: Hi, Singlestalk. I work in one of the biggest and most successful auditing firms in the country. It’s been a great four years learning the business. With the market opening up, a door opened in Taguig to head one of the projects being launched. Amazing. Except that my new boss is going to be my ex. I dumped him for another guy who is also now my ex. I don’t know what to feel. He’s now in a relationship. I stalked his IG. Will the past still matter? This is real life, not something I lifted from a K-drama. I hope you will respond.

DJ: Too many x’s and no y’s. So, you dumped the guy. Amazing. But was he part of the selection process? Then he knows this is bound to happen. In case he wasn’t, it’s still unlikely for this change not to have his green light. It’s his team. Probably, he’s completely over what happened. He’s in a relationship. Part of the job. Nothing personal. Can you do the same? It’s not impossible to work amicably alongside each other. My question is are you ready to keep your head down and buckle down to work? That’s what you’ll be there for.

While it isn’t wise to begin by thinking you’ve got the bullseye on your back, I’m also not suggesting that you get into this with your eyes closed. How prepared are you to keep your affairs to yourself and your support system outside the office? Understand that you can’t involve colleagues in case things get tricky. You have no control how your ex will behave. But you have control whether this move is a go or no-go. Keep this in mind and your life won’t be turned into a soap opera.

Outline the goals you have related to your career. Weigh the potential gains you’ll have if you take this role versus what you’ll possibly face sharing a workplace environment with your ex. Will this move yield a net gain on your career? How does this move play into the wider scope of what you want for yourself? This includes your happiness, peace of mind and well-being. Now if you think it’s worth the shot, put your job first and pour your efforts on the task at hand. No company or job is perfect. We’re bound to be challenged by a person or a situation. Managing this instead of being controlled by it as another step towards maturity.

Yeah, this isn’t a K-drama. I assumed you’re not Korean. Seriously, can you keep this decision independent of emotion? When you learned about his relationship status, did you want to eat ice cream and cry? He’s your boss. Not your ex. Can you reprogram your brain to think that way? This will keep you from analyzing how he’ll say hello and goodbye or relate every little action back to you and your previous relationship. In my view, there is no need to even bring up the past. Even to ask how the dog you both adopted is going. Just an example. What if he’ll bring it up? Mute yourself. Just smile. Particularly in the beginning when you’re both still setting the boundaries.

I’m not saying to flat out ignore establishing rapport with him. Just keep things professional. Communicate only about what you need to, when you need to and strictly during office hours. When unsure, stay away from alcohol during functions. Only when you sanitize your hands. Your work relationship can be different from your previous relationship. It doesn’t have to be doomed. You have the upper hand when you’re clear to yourself that you mean business and are totally cool with the set-up.

Yeah, I must admit I had to remind myself several times writing my response that this is not an entry in Wattpad. Seriously, no one enters into a relationship foreseeing its demise. But it happens. Not all dating relationships end with wedding bells. Some just end. Sure, you dumped the guy. There’s nothing that you can do about what happened. The best course of action is always to give yourself a chance to move forward. Whatever that means to you.