real life

'I was forced to quit my job when my boss became obsessed with me.'

As told to Ann DeGrey.

I loved my job as a personal assistant to a man I thought was a sweetheart. At the time I was looking for work, I received several job offers but only took this position because my boss, Ethan*, seemed so lovely. 

He seemed kind and highly intelligent. He was also interested in my personal life, saying that he likes to know his staff very well so that if we have any personal problems, he can help us. 

Working in the heart of the city was a dream come true, especially with such a fantastic team around me. My colleagues were nothing short of wonderful, creating an environment I really cherished. 

My previous job in the UK had been wonderful too, so I was hoping to replicate it in my new home of Melbourne. 

However, my experience took a drastic turn due to my boss' actions, which made me leave a job I loved within just eight months.

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At first, Ethan seemed like the ideal supervisor. He was always kind, frequently complimenting me in ways that were flattering without crossing boundaries. 


His remarks, like "Blue suits you perfectly," or "You look absolutely stunning," were nice to hear, especially coming from an attractive man who seemed very happily married – there were multiple photos of his pretty blonde wife and kids in his office. I had no reason to think that he was anything but a happily married man.

For a time, everything was fine, and I had no reason to complain. That changed about three months in, following a personal tragedy that left me distraught at work. 

My mother had died unexpectedly, and I had to rush back to the UK for the funeral. When I returned, Ethan was overly attentive and once, when he caught me crying, he hugged me in a way I felt was inappropriate. 

He also kept telling me he 'loved me'. At first I believed this was a very awkward attempt at consoling me, but things just skyrocketed from there.

Ethan constantly quizzed me about who I was dating, and told me his marriage was ending. 

He got into the habit of sending me messages late into the evening, under the pretext of discussing work but quickly veering off-topic. "How's the most amazing PA doing tonight?" he'd text, followed by, "I hope you're not working too hard. Let me take you out for dinner soon?" 


As Ethan's obsessive behaviour escalated, I found myself feeling sick before going to work. He asked me how I'd feel about going on a date, even though he was still technically married and I'd never shown any interest in him. 

I kept telling him that pursuing anything beyond friendship was futile. 

He seemed to accept this but the next day, he told me he'd followed me when I left the office and saw that I'd met friends in a bar. I was horrified that he'd followed me and he seemed to get some kind of pleasure after telling me he'd watched me, even though I'd only been at the bar for an hour.  

One of my colleagues told me she was worried about me and I confided in her that Ethan was obsessed with me.

The situation continued to deteriorate, with Ethan setting up private meetings and even suggesting I accompany him on a weekend work trip for a conference.

I ended up resigning. 

Looking back, this was a clear case of sexual harassment. Yet, I chose to leave quietly, as I wanted to spare myself the additional trauma of filing a formal complaint. 

This chapter of my life closed over a year ago, and to my knowledge, Ethan remains with his family. I often feel guilty about the new PA and wonder if he is harassing her the same way he harassed me?

Feature Image: Getty.

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