Should I Worry About My Co-Workers Smoking Weed on Break?

Send questions about the office, money, careers and work-life balance to [email protected]. Include your name and location, even if you want them withheld. Letters may be edited.

Indispensable, but Pregnant

Congratulations on making a tiny human that will soon join this world. You need to find a short-term replacement. Businesses do this all the time to accommodate people who are taking parental leave. You are clearly amazing at your job, but you are not the only person in the world who can keep your company from imploding. If you truly are, they are not paying you enough and that is a real management failure. When you approach the owners, have a clear plan in mind for the kind of person they need to find, how long the temporary colleague will be in place and how you will onboard that person and pass along your responsibilities. You should not have to split up your leave, or work part-time. The point of work leave is to leave. Be clear on that both with yourself and with your employer.

How to Quit a Volatile Boss

You cannot control how your boss will react or what she will say about you once you are no longer working for her. Simply give your employer two weeks’ notice, arrange a smooth transition and move on with your professional life, hopefully to a work situation that is not toxic. You are not responsible for your employer’s mental health or emotional well-being. Your boss will be fine, I assure you.

A Distinct Aroma

You may be naïve, but that isn’t a crime. If you and your colleagues aren’t using heavy machinery, driving tractor-trailers, performing medical procedures or flying airplanes, smoking weed on breaks is ill-advised but relatively harmless. Is it unprofessional? Yes. Are you uncool for having an issue with this? Maybe! But you are entitled to your opinion, just as your colleagues are entitled to spend their coffee breaks as they see fit. Let me ask you this: Why do you care? Is it the smell, which, yes, is very unpleasant? Is it that they are using drugs? Marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in 23 states, and 38 states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. That said, most workplaces do not allow for the use of intoxicants during working hours. Your colleagues are probably breaking some rules, but it’s nothing you need to handle or worry about unless you are in management. Let this one go.

Family Matters

I must ask: How do you know your boss works less than you do? Perhaps she works differently. Why are you so preoccupied with her work habits? Do you really hear yourself when you note that she … gets sick a lot? Take a breath. Unclench. Frankly, it sounds like your boss has healthy work-life boundaries. It is not abnormal not to have work email on one’s personal phone and not to work after traditional hours. Now, some of the things you note here are annoying. If her child is consistently interrupting work meetings, she needs to come up with a solution. When it happens once in a while, it’s just normal life; if it’s happening all the time, it’s a problem.

I do think the real issue here is your bitterness, to which you are, to be clear, entitled. When you’re childless, you have a full personal life but, usually, more free time and flexibility. Sometimes, employers take advantage, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The best reframing I can suggest is to stop obsessing over your boss’s work habits. Your boss is senior because, as you note, she is years ahead of you. Prioritizing work is your choice. It does not mean you get to be the boss. That said, I am certain your day will come. And I hope that, when it does, you’ll realize that there is more to life than work; that we can be good at our jobs without making our jobs the center of our lives, and that we all have complications that shape our work lives. If you cannot reframe your thinking, yes, you can look for another job, but every company has working parents. Your bitterness will follow you wherever you go if you don’t address it.

Write to Roxane Gay at [email protected].

Roxane Gay is an author, most recently of “Hunger,” and a contributing Opinion writer.

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