Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Reaction - Too Much or Not Enough?

Today I got a kind of shocking phone call at work that makes me think my boss (whom I shared information with in confidence) has been a little too free in sharing that confidence with others. Yes, we are a tight knit organization. Yes, I have know most of the members of the assoc. for a decade. But I'm thinking not only did my boss (if she did indeed spill the beans) show a serious lapse in judgment here, but on a personal note, shared medical details of mine that were mine to share.

Anyway, here was my email to her today (she's away on a business trip). Told hubby about the incident and of course he is furious and says I should threaten litigation. Come on now. Don't be daft. I am not going to threaten to sue someone who I know in her heart means well and for a decade now has been pretty d*mn supportive of everything I have wanted to do with my life - even when it made things seriously inconvenient for her. Ok, here's the message:

I really appreciate your enthusiasm and support around my pregnancy. It is wonderful to work in an environment where I feel I and my future family will be valued. But I just received some congratulations from an employee at ____ that was a little more detailed than I would have liked. She mentioned that _____ had shared some of the info you had shared with ____ and then went on to tell me about a family member of her own who had cancer, couldn’t have children, used artificial techniques and went on to have children. It was a heartfelt congratulations from this person, but I was very, very shocked and surprised to hear it in the way that I did.

While I’m neither shy nor ashamed of the path we’ve taken toward parenthood, I would like to keep such details as my story to tell and to be able to select the listeners. I am uncomfortable with some people, especially those whom I interact with professionally, knowing my very private details. IVF and related means are still frowned upon by some and I wouldn’t want those judgments to interfere with the work that I need to do.

Am I being too sensitive here? Not sensitive enough? Some of my own co-workers don't know the full extent of my story - at least they haven't heard it from me. I suppose I should assume it's all out of the bag now. Like I said, I'm not saying that I wouldn't have eventually told the people in question, but dammit, I wanted to be the one to make that decision, not have it come out like another piece of water cooler gossip. I think the fact that I even had to compose this email is ridiculous. Hubby thinks I was far too tame. What do you think? Where do I go from here?

17 comments:

nancy said...

I think it's great you have brought it up to her. I don't think you said anything too harshly or too non-chalant. Good for you. I'm waiting to hear her response.

Tracy said...

Nope, I think it was highly inappropriate for her to mention details to anybody without your knowledge and consent.

The only thing I might have done differently (might being the operative word here) is talked with her about it over the phone. Email can be easily misinterpreted so I prefer to have sensitive conversations verbally...most of the time.

Sassy said...

That's really inappropriate that she has said anything to anyone else without your permission. I would be much more angry and rude to her, but your response looks entirely appropriate and considerate. I hope it makes her think twice.

stacyb said...

for what it's worth: it's great to be able to speak to you boss. i don't think anything was said harshly or not harshly enough. i don't think people realize what they say, to them your story may just be really interesting and they are not thinking about all that you went through to get here. my guess is her intentions, if she even had them, were not malicious...the fact is once the information is out there you can't really control out.

my husband and i when we originally went through the whole who should we tell and how regarding DE decided the less of a big deal we made it (i.e. we're telling you but don't tell anyone else) the more likely it was people would soon forget about it all and if we made a big to do it became more news. if that makes sense.

Sue said...

I think your response was entirely appropriate. Although it is your story to tell, I'm sure the people you've told are very excited for you and it's hard for them to keep it to themselves. I think you've done the right thing and perhaps in the future your boss will think twice before telling others.

Sarah said...

I would err on the side of grace and forgiveness here, like you are already leaning toward. Your story is so tempting to share because it makes people feel hopeful and like wonderful things are still happening around them. That she shared it within your professional circle wasn't right, but it wasn't malicious, like you said.

As I got more pregnant, and now that the baby is here, I realized how much more it made me belong to the world -- and to everybody. Pregnant women and babies are a talisman of hope to many people, a proof that good things are still happening.

Sarah said...

Not that I think you shouldn't bring it up with her. I think you should, and that your letter is good.

m said...

tracy - good call. and I totally would have, but my one chance to talk with her yesterday, I knew she was in the car with a co-worker that I am really not crazy about (as in, we speak to each other only when we must) and I really, really didn't want to a.) give her a piece of the action or b.) think about the conversations my boss and her would have after I hung up. Plus, I knew she was gearing up for BIG presentation yesterday evening. I thought it might be too much of a dick move to be like, I know you're trying to focus on not screwing up tonight but I need you to focus on ME for a minute here.

Phone call may have been best, but I needed to get it off my chest ASAP and I thought email would let me do that.

She's driving home solo today so I am expecting a call. And I'm guessing we'll hash it out then.

m said...

sarah - I think you're right - about the pregnancy being a sign of hope and one that people want to be included in and that's cool. But I've noticed things on the tip of her lips before in professional circles and comments dropped a little too lightly that if someone picked up on them would allow her to go into my whole life story. My fear isn't the person I spoke with yesterday and her boss (because they are both pretty cool women) but who ELSE and WHAT ELSE my boss has divulged.

m said...

PS - thank you ALL for your thoughts. They are really helping me get some perspective this morning where last night I was just hurt and angry.

Michelle said...

That is a great letter. I have had the same situation with my boss and have been trying to figure out how to handle because she is pretty supportive just like yours. I think you are right on and handling in fantasticly.

I Believe in Miracles said...

I think that's a great letter!! Good luck.

Pamela Jeanne said...

You were right to call her on it. It's beyond frustrating when you find out some people don't understand the meaning of confidential.

Amy said...

It makes perfect sense that you brought up your (quite valid) concerns. It was completely inappopriate for her to share your story. Your story. Ugh...I know people mean well, or just don't think, but I'm constantly amazed at the lack of discretion in our society.

Clover said...

You are a better person than me. I kind of agree with your husband that I'd be pissed off to no end if someone shared our personal details with colleagues at work. But I think you handled it well- good for you for keeping your cool. What happened?

midlife mommy said...

We used donor eggs to have my daughter. I explained everything to my boss, because at the time, I bought into my clinic's requirement of three days on the couch following transfer (I don't anymore). Unfortunately, I didn't know when these three days would be because of the cycle coordination. He was very supportive, very interested, and asked a lot of questions. And then I found out that he'd shared everything with his boss about why I would be out for three days. Everything! I was not pleased about it, and I told him. He just didn't see it as a big deal and didn't understand why I did. Fortunately, they were both supportive and weren't going around telling everyone else -- but I would have liked to have chosen who was told as well.

Fate's Granddaughter said...

I think you responded with dignity and style to a difficult situation. I probably would have gone ballistic - and I would have probably been wrong (not to mention made my life harder). I think it was a great letter, and a letter that needed written.

Google