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My dilemma....


Hi there. Although I am not a business owner I do peruse this part of the site to glean an owner's viewpoint from time to time. I agree with a lot of your points and have a good chuckle when you all rant and rave.

Here's my deal. I packed up and walked out of my job a short time back. I'm sure this has happened to you all from time to time but probably not under the same circumstances.

For simplicity I will label the players A,B and C. Late last month I almost walked in on A and B (married employee) sans clothes going at it on the floor of C's office at the end of the day. They made a critical mistake of not checking that the building was empty and did not realize that I was still there finishing up some work. I did not turn the lights on but it was quite clear visually and audibly what was going on. Bad enough.

The next morning I confronted B and told them about the previous nights discovery and my displeasure at the recklessness that could realistically bring down the business. I also advised B to inform A of my discovery and that my working relationship with B was finished.

This staggered on for a few awkward months with no further discussion until I finally pulled the plug and bounced.

In a perfect world I could have taken my concerns to HR, just like it states in the employee handbook. You know, the kind that you all have. However, this was not possible as C is the spouse of A and that conversation could never happen. The company is not that big with staffing in the 10-12 range. In the end, I wrote a letter to A (the owner) telling them that i had lost all respect for them (human and business) and that I was done.

I don't regret my decision for one moment, I don't live paycheck to paycheck so I am alright for the time being in that aspect. I had informed A that I would be filing for UIC and they did not challenge that.

However, I am now starting to look for work and am grappling with "why were you laid off" vs. "why did you quit?". To me it would be a red flag for someone to be laid off after five years, however if I say I quit and the truth of why I made my decision, that would be hard to verify as C would be the one to verify and at this point I don't think they know the truth behind my decision.

This is not a win-win.

So my friends, what have you to say of my predicament? Feel free to speak your minds. I have shown this site and forum to A in the past and they didn't feel that they could learn anything from it. So I doubt this post will be read. Thanks

3/20/15       #2: My dilemma.... ...

Addendum: should be late last year.

3/20/15       #3: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Herron

While I don't necessarily endorse their actions (a firm determination would have to be made only after a careful evaluation of "B's" physical appearance and enthusiasm), your handling of the situation only shows your inability to adapt and frankly immaturity. Let's face it, it happens.
Why not show some discretion, and if you thought it well received, maybe a little one on one counseling with "the man" instead of going all judgmental and confrontational?
Maybe he should have kept the staff level in the 9-11 range.
As far as the UIC, I sense a threatening overtone from you if they balked at it, though I don't see how it affects your work situation, as long as you're not running your mouth all over.
I know at the end of the day it's not right, but it's their private business.

3/20/15       #4: My dilemma.... ...

I have to agree with Jim here on your over reaction….IMO anyway.

As far as the UIC, you quit so your pretty much responsible for your position. No one fired you or pressured you to leave and you weren't laid off. In my opinion you aren't entitled to collect. You made a choice and it's your responsibility to live with it. Sorry to be harsh, i'm just not a fan of those who abuse the system when there's people out there who didn't have a choice about losing their jobs and need it.

Lastly when interviewing you tell them the truth, you quit for personal reasons that made you uncomfortable there. Any more detail about what happened than that is IMHO unprofessional and would be the real red flag if I were interviewing you.

Sorry to sound so harsh, but to me it sounds like your just trying to justify your actions by blaming them on someone else.


3/20/15       #5: My dilemma.... ...

Even Jimmy Carter had "lust in his heart" when he gazed at good looking women. The only difference between him and others more judgmental is that he admitted these feelings whereas the others just experience them. According to Dostoyevsky if you think the crime you have already committed it. I commit it dozens of times over whenever I go grocery shopping.

I'm with Jim & Jeff on this one. You made the choice to make this important to you. You made the choice to say Mr. A & Ms B shouldn't have the same right to make choices as you do.

What I would do is go back to these people and tell them you've given this some consideration and think maybe you overreacted. You could possibly get a letter of recommendation or maybe even your old job back.

3/20/15       #6: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Herron

"I don't regret my decision for one moment, I don't live paycheck to paycheck so I am alright for the time being in that aspect."
I guess my biggest problem is, while sitting in judgement of everyone else, you have absolutely no problem hosing your employer and the state for benefits that you have absolutely no right to.
It seems your ethics are much more relaxed when your pocketbook is affected.
If you want to throw your moral superiority around, have at it, but you should be prepared to bear the costs that goes along with it.
My guess is your not.
In your situation I would go with JWS plan "B"- What I would do is go back to these people and tell them you've given this some consideration and think maybe you overreacted. You could possibly get a letter of recommendation or maybe even your old job back.
Otherwise you need to man up and live with your decision. I think any potential employer (as long as you kept the details minimal) could respect that.

3/20/15       #7: My dilemma.... ...
rich c.

I would be surprised that you can qualify for unemployment because two people had sex in the office and you quit. They didn't challenge your statement, but I bet they sure as hell do when the paperwork comes through. Yup, I agree with the others, too morale to work for people having sex, but you think your morality should be subsidized by others! Open your own shop and you can set all the rules you want to live by.

3/20/15       #8: My dilemma.... ...

So here's the funny thing about assumptions: they're dangerous.... I did not mention the gender of B, you just assumed one because I said married. Welcome to the new millennium men, on the left coast you can have both traditional and "non-traditional" marriages. Neither of which denote your ability to perform a specified role in a company.

So to qualify your "evaluation" Jim, I'll go with hairy and very, and "frankly" I'd like to see you adapt to that scenario.That said, I made my decision and am moving on. The thought of going back to get a letter of recommendation or better yet beg for my job back is not worth any comment on my part.

UIC, good or bad. I can assure you the owner is probably relieved that I self-terminated as he had no grounds to fire me/lay me off based on my job performance. I won't be there long anyway, call it confidence, not arrogance.

My ultimate question was how to deal with and present my decision with future opportunities. I think I'll go with Jeff's and let the chips fall where they may.

Like I said, you all like to rant and rave. Thanks for the feedback.

3/21/15       #9: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Herron

Well, that certainly brings things into clearer focus...
However, I guess if I had made the poor life choice to live on the west coast, I'd have to go with my original statement-evaluate and then decide :^(
Lets face it it still happens.
Let me be sure I'm tracking correctly-are A,B, "and" C on the same team? Are you on the same team as ABC or in a different conference?
Still think your wrong on milking UIC to subsidize your ethical decisions.

3/21/15       #10: My dilemma.... ...

For clarification. A and C are married, although who knows for how long. Not my problem. B is also "married" but not in the "traditional" sense, other team.

As for "it happens". I guess, but when it happens in your spouses office when their not there, thankfully, well that's just F'd up. Go find a no tell motel.

I was raised religious but I have a fairly liberal view of life, getting busy with "anybody" in your spouses office still don't fly with me. I'm okay with my "moral" judgement and owe nobody here an apology.

So you can see my problem with explaining my departure truthfully or just going with layed-off and having someone wonder why.

As for UIC. like I said, not a long term gig. As for you Rich C, there was not a word when the paperwork was submitted and I'm pretty confident there won't be.

Like I said this is not a win-win for anybody.

3/21/15       #11: My dilemma.... ...


The Taliban owe nobody an apology for their moral judgements either. They probably could even find a way to judge you as a heretic. Are you okay with that?

Sitting in judgement is still sitting in judgment. As soon as you can point to your qualifications for this point of view (other than of course the usual dogma about religion) please update us.

3/21/15       #12: My dilemma.... ...
John Sirovatka Member

Okay, I admit it is late and I'm home from a Bulls game. (We won, thanks for the thought)

Let's see if I have the facts:

You had a job. Presumably at will.

In that place of employment, two individuals entered into sexual relations which you discovered by chance.

At no time did said persons threaten you, pressure you, or invite you to enter into offensive situations.

As a result of your discovery, you elected to terminate your at will employment.

I sincerely hope I do not live in the same governing bit of geography that would even briefly consider your claim for unemployment benefit.

You quit your job. The individuals who were allegedly engaged in extra-marital relations we seeming doing so on their own time, did not threaten your employment, future, or advancement.

It seems you are hamstrung by the gender of the participants.

Now who has the discrimination case?

Did the firm suffer a loss based on your abrupt departure?

I'm sure there is an Ivy League lawyer who would take up their cause.

3/21/15       #13: My dilemma.... ...

This is sounding like a trick question. Gender of A and B really doesn't matter. Oviously what you missed was a golden opportunity to whip out your phone, video the adventure and get a raise and promotion for not showing it to C. Got to think on your feet....it is the sign of a good employee....or at least a newly well compensated one. You never know, it could have lead to an entirely new career in film.

3/21/15       #14: My dilemma.... ...

Simple, tell the new potential employer you were laid off because work was slow or some other simple excuse. Not sure why you gotta turn this into a big complicated thing. Move on and get a new job. All the top notch guys I know could have a job in a few days without any fuss and probably would have already had one lined up before they left. Also, I don't agree with the unemployment fraud.

3/21/15       #15: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Herron

Maybe "A" hit it and simply couldn't quit it.
Maybe "C" is trying to babysit it.
Maybe "C" already knows "B" is hitting it and is willing to split it.

3/21/15       #16: My dilemma.... ...
Busted Member

Pictures... or it didn't happen.;-)

3/21/15       #17: My dilemma.... ...
D Brown

anon, simply tell your new employer after 5 years you realized the company was stagnating or not moving in a direction for you to be able to plan your future .

3/21/15       #18: My dilemma.... ...
Calvin Williams

Listen guy, I'm kinda with everyone else on this. You decided to quit because of ethical issues. Which is fine, I don't condone their behavior nor do I think it is acceptable in a place of business or anywhere else for that matter. They could at least get a hotel room or something. But, it was your choice to quit so take the responsibility and go get another job and stop trying to milk the system when there are so many others out there that really need the help and can't get it because people like you. Sorry guy, you made the decision now own it like a man.

3/21/15       #19: My dilemma.... ...
David R Sochar Member

Along the lines of D Brown's comment, develop a succinct one sentence explanation that does not include moral judgement or compromising positions. Positive.

In the future, I suggest you make sure your employment has enough challenges and 'load' to it that the work keeps you 100% involved, nose-to-the-stone, so you don't have the time, energy or inclination to be sidetracked by the same distractions that others may have found. You will be better off for it. The work is it's own reward.

3/21/15       #20: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Conklin  Member

Website: http://www.jhconklin.net

I've left jobs for similar types of conflictive horseplay. I was judgemental. Not for moral reasons. Over months, I came to see the noodling around as a lack of focus on the business targets that had me pulling monster hours. So, I went somewhere my good efforts were mirrored.

It was simple, I didn't want to be immersed in those situations. I didn't confront or blackmail anyone, and, at worse, spoke of a 'lack-of-fit' in the exit interview. Done.

3/21/15       #21: My dilemma.... ...

No assumptions as it doesn't really matter. About half my clients are "non-traditional" marriages. Doesn't matter to me, people are people and they pay their bills. Who they spend "quality time" with is none of my business.

I stick with my response, you left for personal reasons and don't need to go much further than that. If your as qualified as you say you shouldn't have a problem getting another job.


3/21/15       #22: My dilemma.... ...

I fully expected a lot of varied responses with the usual vitriol thrown in. In retrospect I should have used the word ethical as opposed to moral. That said, when an employer chooses to engage in "activities" with an employee (subordinate), whether married or single/ what team, etc., that is pretty reckless. To compound it by playing in your spouses/ co-owners office is IMHO recklessly arrogant from a business standpoint. I wasn't trying to "catch" anybody. I simply had shut down the building and was going to say goodnight.

Pictures? Yeah that's classy... bad enough as it was.

When you work in a small company, you have interactions with each other everyday, and it does lend an air of tension when there is a 300 lb. gorilla sitting off in the corner that three people know about and nobody wants to acknowledge.

Thank you for all your thoughts and input. I think Jim Conklin put it best for how to proceed.

I really hadn't viewed the UIC angle from a different perspective and have made a decision to terminate that based on your input.

Like I said, this was a no win situation.

JWS, I don't know why you veer off into philosophical bents, but if your cool with live and let live than I guess my question would be would you feel the same if I was the owner and had the same predicament with two employees, married or not? Would you feel the same way then?

Thanks to all, best of luck in the year ahead.

3/21/15       #23: My dilemma.... ...


You made the statement that this behavior was not moral and doubled down on that contention by saying you were raised in religious environment so therefore were qualified to make this judgment. This is source of some of this vitriol. The rest had to do with your (moral) quandary about unemployment insurance.

It is laudable that you concluded that maybe you aren't qualified to ask for government subsidies to mitigate your unemployment.

You probably could have solved this problem with more dialog. Your conversation the next morning was probably a bit intense. Perhaps another conversation later would have defused the 300 lb. gorilla situation. If you had this to do over (knowing what you know now) would you have initiated this conversation

As for philosophical veering, you are fairly articulate so presumably also fairly intelligent. What do you think of Dostoyevsky's supposition that if you think the crime you have already committed it?

Best wishes to you however this is resolved.

3/21/15       #24: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Conklin  Member

Website: http://www.jhconklin.net


"Dostoyevsky's supposition that if you think the crime you have already committed it" is a debater's trick equating cognition with action.

Begging the question of how one can avoid ANY crime when the mere abstraction of a crime IS the crime.

Interesting take on the Orwellian notion of 'thought crime', no? Action minus the act.
A lawyer's dream. The ultimate black box.

3/21/15       #25: My dilemma.... ...

Website: http://subercustomshutters.com

"So my friends, what have you to say of my predicament?"
What predicament?
You didn't like working with people that behaved poorly and made decisions you did not agree with, and you chose to quit your job. If your predicament is you do not know how to respond when being asked why you quit, tell the truth. It is very simple. Say you quit because of immoral behavior of fellow employees.
And I believe it would just as wrong for you to collect unemployment as it was for married people to commit adultery.

3/22/15       #26: My dilemma.... ...

"In the future, I suggest you make sure your employment has enough challenges and 'load' to it that the work keeps you 100% involved, nose-to-the-stone, so you don't have the time, energy or inclination to be sidetracked by the same distractions that others may have found. You will be better off for it. The work is it's own reward."

Yes, that. I beleive, though I may be wrong, that this situation is a symptom of a good time length of accumulated frustration. It's a symptom, not the actual problem.

And who hasn't done this? You have unsatisfying work, you get frustrated, have too much time to think, get uber focused on the humans that are your road blocks. Not healthy, but common. Then you end up lying in wait for a big event of sorts. Something. anything, that will confirm that this individual (s) is f'd up, and here is your proof.

Loosing yourself in that situation will only make a fool out of you, even if the events leading up to it were legit.

As for future endeavors--when asked why you left keep it simple and don't make a big emotional deal out of it, and they won't.

3/22/15       #27: My dilemma.... ...
David Waldmann  Member

Website: vermonthardwoods.com

"Dostoyevsky's supposition that if you think the crime you have already committed it"

"Interesting take on the Orwellian notion of 'thought crime', no?"

The principle has been around far longer than that.

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:28 KJV

As to the OP, I agree with the others who have said that you quit for personal reasons. I also applaud you for recognizing that it was a choice under your control, and withdrawing your UIC claim for that reason.

3/22/15       #28: My dilemma.... ...

You didn't seem to mind lying when accepting undeserved unemployment so I imagine your not as morally and ethically correct as you want to be.
Go ahead and tell your prospective boss what ever you like as you headed down the wrong road when you blackmailed you old boss.

3/22/15       #29: My dilemma.... ...


You need to focus on reading comprehension. Anon said and did nothing of the sort.

He found himself in a situation where it was more comfortable to be righteous than reflective. He let his sense of moral superiority define what was correct behavior and what was incorrect behavior. This behavior in his mind was so egregious that he had no options but to resign. In this way he made the circumstances more about himself than the miscreants.

As Mel pointed out he may really have been focusing on other things and this was a tidy package with which to explain his frustration.

In any case Anon never did blackmail anyone and has not so far decided to file for unemployment. He has, in fact, stated that based on the input from this fine crowd he also questions whether or not he should morally be qualified for unemployment. He is not a bigot.

3/22/15       #30: My dilemma.... ...

Moral judgments:
I'm old, have seen many things that I chose not to engage in. That doesn't necessarily make them wrong. Not for me to decide for someone else. Politicians do that. I see religion affecting Anon's judgment of others, OK I guess, as long as it doesn't harm others.

3/22/15       #31: My dilemma.... ...
Mark V.

This is very interesting and I think that an argument could be made for "constructive dismissal". So I'm not so sure that I would be discontinuing unemployment.


3/22/15       #32: My dilemma.... ...

""Dostoyevsky's supposition that if you think the crime you have already committed it"

"Interesting take on the Orwellian notion of 'thought crime', no?" "

This may seem like a tangeant but I do beleive it is on topic. I think that the world is full of vice, misunderstandings, lost souls and mayhem. There is nothing like a business setting to either see this more naked than ever, or miss-see it dangerously. When hatred makes you focus on a person you can really go sideways. On top of the fact that the world is a little sideways anyway.

So here's the slightly tangeant-y part... This idea (thanks for bringing it up, David) that a thought is the same as the crime. I like thinking about these sort of things. I'm the first to admit that if this is true, I'm going somewhere really warm when I pass.

But I'm not convinced about this--your brain is a processor of information. The king of "what if". A whole lot of ideas pass through there. Good, bad, ugly, bizarre, important, silly. Often mental health can be judged by your capacity to let this mishmash of thoughts flow by like a river and not get obsessed by less comfortable thoughts.

Life is oh so messy. And it's easy to look at another person and think they are messed up. But who isn't, really?

We all have something we are doing that would freak out another.

3/22/15       #33: My dilemma.... ...

Whoever thought that posing a simple question would birth the new "psychological ramblings" forum on woodweb......wow!!!

3/22/15       #34: My dilemma.... ...
J. Beam


For starters it wasn't exactly a "simple" question and just because a topic meanders doesn't mean it rambles. You have to think of this as floating opera where you can't really see or hear the actors when they are on the other river bank and you need to depend on your neighbors to fill in the blanks and interpret things for you.

Psychology is at the root of our businesses. Nobody exactly "needs" what we make so why do they buy it? The simple answer is, of course, so they don't have to store their shit on the floor. This begs the question, "why do they have so much shit?"..... Now you're getting into the physiology of dopamine receptors.......not unlike the dopamine receptors those miscreants you happened upon at your shop were reacting to. The simple reason is they can't help themselves just like you couldn't help yourself at being aghast.

This forum should have a psychology forum though I would vote first that they devote that band width to Lean thinking now that everybody is on the bandwagon.

3/23/15       #35: My dilemma.... ...
D Brown

anon, after understanding your situation you may want to consider doing some checking with any potential employer before you interview , maybe a background check and a quick Google or someway find out if they are like minded to your comfort zone so you don't end up with more of the same in a different shop .So maybe you too should do some interviewing to an extent .

3/23/15       #36: My dilemma.... ...

While I agree and do try to research prospective employers via BBB or consumer reviews, I don't think I would find information relating to a company's policy towards affairs between owners and employees. Digging further holds no interest for me. I'm a woodworker not an investigative journalist.

I think I am just going to go with " After a number of years together I realized that that my work goals and the shop were no longer aligned. Furthermore, an incident involving two personnel, which I will not go into further, cemented my decision that the time to leave had arrived",

Overall, I've found that people in this industry are some of the quirkiest yet true individuals you can find. There is something satisfying and magical in taking what basically amounts to a tree and creating a functional product from it.

Yes, there are always a few bad apples, even owners, but overall I think far fewer than you'd find on wall street or car sales.

Best to all for an interesting thread.

3/23/15       #37: My dilemma.... ...
Jim Member

Why include the second sentence. You had it right with just the first. Using the second sentence only opens a can of worms. As the hiring manager, I would wonder what it was that you won't discuss. Is it something you were involved with? Something they did to you? did they play a harmless prank and you were over sensitive? That second line creates all sorts of questions that you won't answer. Leave it alone with the first line and stop there.

3/23/15       #38: My dilemma.... ...
Robert Member

Time to move on. Case closed. Either find another job or open your own shop. Case closed. Enough said, bye bye.Don't kick a dead horse. Good luck.

3/23/15       #39: My dilemma.... ...

But now I'm stuck!
What am I supposed to do with this?

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:28 KJV

3/23/15       #40: My dilemma.... ...

This is better than any "Soap" Jeez, why say anything and why quit? You weren't involved. If they didn't see you why bring it up? Don't ask, don't tell.

3/23/15       #41: My dilemma.... ...

I agree with Jim, there's no need for the second sentence. I'm starting to wonder if this all stems from you just wanting to tell this story? For some reason you feel it's important to somehow tell it regardless of if anyone wants to hear it.

Oh well gotta do what you gotta to do. Just seems to me like there's nothing positive that can come from bringing it up, and plenty of negative. Seems like folks with high moral values wouldn't want to keep talking about what other people are doing…..but what do I know?


3/23/15       #42: My dilemma.... ...
Mel Member

"Psychology is at the root of our businesses. Nobody exactly "needs" what we make so why do they buy it? The simple answer is, of course, so they don't have to store their shit on the floor. This begs the question, "why do they have so much shit?"..... Now you're getting into the physiology of dopamine receptors.......not unlike the dopamine receptors those miscreants you happened upon at your shop were reacting to. The simple reason is they can't help themselves just like you couldn't help yourself at being aghast. "

Man, do I ever love this post. Shezzam, J Beam.

I find it funny that anyone seperates the brain from existance--our entire society is product of mind. From the socks on our feet to your relationship with the neighbor to the methods your accountant uses to do your taxes.

And this brain is run by neurotransmitters and hormones. Good luck to anyone who wants a clean divide with that one!

3/28/15       #43: My dilemma.... ...

I would have visited an employment attorney, right away. In fact, I would still do so. You had to leave your job because of this.

At this point your former employer is probably glad, you haven't sued them.

What goes in in our "personal lives" does not belong at work, in any circumstance.

Being exposed to uninvited nudity, or sexual acts by co-workers worker in any form, is unacceptable. This more than likely constitutes sexual harassment, indecent exposure, other potential crimes. There is a lot of legal precedent, and or laws, designed to protect employees from these exact situations.

If you were "female" and had witnessed this. You would have a very large settlement check, in your hand by now.

3/28/15       #44: My dilemma.... ...


Your arguments are simply absurd.
This was an unfortunate and unintended situation but nothing about it rises to the level of sexual harassment of the OP.

The players in this tryst obviously got caught up in the passion of the moment. It was not rational or appropriate behavior, it just happened and could have easily been resolved the following morning with an admonishment by the OP.

That he chose to to dwell on this and make it a personal rubicon was his choice. In this case the inappropriate party was the OP. That you would choose to litigate speaks volumes about you. Running a small business is hard enough without people looking for an easy dollar and lawyers all too willing to oblige.

I would step back a click on this one and ask yourself if you've ever been any kind of situation like this and ask yourself how you resolved it. Is there nothing you have ever done that wouldn't hold up to public scrutiny or you would hope others didn't know about you?

If this is the case then you need to get a life.

3/29/15       #45: My dilemma.... ...

Lot of people out of touch with reality in this thread. Simple fact is.

It does not matter, weather you would personally dismiss this, or be offended.

1 In the real world. nudity, sexual behavior, generally are not tolerated in the workplace. Most organizations have policies against this.

2. People get fired, loose professional licensing, get sued for sexual harassment all the time, for far less serious matters.

3. To brush this off, or dismiss this as insignificant, is ignoring 1, and 2.

However, involving ones "personal, romantic life" with work, or business, is a recipe for disaster. Allowing stuff like this to go on in your workplace, is setting yourself up for a mess.

To suggest otherwise, is unprofessional, and ignorant.

As an employee, you have a right, to not be subjected to unwanted nudity, and or sexual acts of co-workers, while at work.

You have a right to not have to leave your job, because of indecent behavior of co-workers.

Bottom line. Cloths stay on at work. Situation avoided in the first place. This discussion, wouldn't have to happen.

Keep things professional boys.

3/29/15       #46: My dilemma.... ...

Though I think Kaaty put it the most concise and eloquently, this thread is now closed.

No Dear Abby, no lawsuits, no lawyers. I start with a much larger, more creative, non-family owned business on April 6th. As the saying goes, one door closes......,

Best of luck to all.

3/31/15       #47: My dilemma.... ...

Mind your own business. What people do after hours in their private office is none of your business. Try knocking on doors before you enter. I'd also appreciate it if you would keep this kind of business off Woodweb forums. It is an inappropriate topic, and you should not have brought it up here.

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