Random Advice, Vol. 1

Introducing Random Advice, a slightly unconventional advice column where we bring your questions to the people who work at bars, wait at bus stops, or pave its roads, to see what they have to say.

For this issue, we heard from a reader whose dilemma, er…straddles the uncomfortable line between work and relationships:        

I’m one of three managers at a mid-sized restaurant. We’re all on salary and make the same amount of money. Anyone who’s worked in the industry knows that there’s a kind of “party culture” where your boss turns into a drinking buddy outside of work hours. This wouldn’t be an issue, except that my boss has had multiple sexual relationships with current and former managers. I’m expected to cover for them when they go away on “business trips” together. Those managers get preferential treatment too: easier workload, days off approved when they want, etc. What should I do?

Shayan, Saif, Esah and Hamza

Spikeball players at Queen’s Park

“I’d just sleep with him.”

“I’d talk to the boss’ boss. I’d say it’s not fair they’re all sleeping with him. Give me better rights, I’m working harder than they are. Or there should be some sort of system where you track how much vacation someone’s taking, how many shifts someone’s picking up on behalf of other people. Just so that there’s some meritocracy to how that works. I don’t know who you’d speak to about that. The owner? I guess that would be the only person who’s above the boss, right?”

“Blackmail them. Casually record them on your phone…like, have a conversation, get them to confess, then send it to HR.”


Bartender at The Artful Dodger Pub

“Honestly, move on. Find another job. Like, especially if you're at the managerial level, then you're probably talking about the owner of the business. Even if you're in a corporation, you can go to somebody above that person's head, but there's absolutely no point because—why would you even want to stay in your job afterwards? It’s gonna be miserable because you've gone against somebody who's above you. I think talking to the other employees isn’t gonna do anything at all, other than just cause rifts between everybody. For me? I would just be...I’m out. I have two owners at this place and I’m actually management here. I've been here twelve years now and I've got staff that have been here fifteen to twenty years. These owners would never treat their staff that way. When you've seen the other side, you realize that this industry’s so transient, there's a million jobs available and a million people constantly looking for new management or whatever. In my experience, management doesn't stay for very long. They don't necessarily get treated very well. It's a bit of a ladder that you're trying to climb and unfortunately it doesn't really work for most people.”

Are you dealing with a complicated work situation? Is your landlord being shady? Do you have a relationship question you can’t ask your friends about? We’re here for you. Email us at info@thegrindmag.ca and you might find the answer you’re looking for in the next issue.

This article appears in the Sept/Oct 2023 issue.