Loyal employee, frenemy, or rat?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Loyal employee, frenemy, or rat?
Fri, 01-03-2014 - 3:23pm

I’m close friends with someone who has asked my opinion about something.  (Kay and I have known each other since high school and shared a lot of life-experience stories from our mutual pasts.)



Twenty+ years ago I moved away from our hometown, and Kay stayed and got a job with a large company.  She became friends with Jan a co-worker……they socialized after work, but throughout the two years they worked together, the friendship had ups & downs.


Unfortunately Kay made the poor choice to get involved in a brief affair with the husband of another coworker.  He ended it, and she fell apart emotionally.  Since she also saw the guy’s wife every day, Kay started slacking off at work (absenteeism, crying spells, etc.)  No one knew about the affair that had taken place………..until one night Kay went to the home of Jan crying on her shoulder and told her about the affair.  (Jan promised not to tell anyone.)  Kay started to see a therapist.


A few months later Kay’s work performance went downhill further.  There was a huge emotional outburst with her boss, she was taken to her doctor’s office she took a few days off,


And when she returned to work, Kay was fired.  She took some legal action against the company, but lost her case.  However, she says that during the course of the legal battle she saw documents which revealed that the day after she “confided” to Jan about the affair, Jan went to Kay’s boss and told him…..the justification being that it involved the husband of another employee.  (The lid was kept on the situation, and Kay was not fired because of this.)  Kay eventually left town, got a new job, and has done well personally and also in her career.



In a few weeks Kay is going back to the hometown for a family event.  For whatever reason(s), she looked up a few people and one was Jan (who is still working at that same company).  She chatted with Jan via phone, and said Jan invited her to stop by the office to say hello or whatever.   (Of course, all the history was never brought up.)


Surprisingly, Kay seems excited about stopping in the place where she was fired from over 20 yrs ago.  Her former boss is gone (deceased) and her ex-lover’s wife no longer works there.  But still………I say let sleeping dogs lie and Jan was never really a friend anyway.


Thanks for reading. Thoughts?



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2011
Sun, 01-05-2014 - 7:48pm

It is interesting that this woman went to the place where she was fired from 20 years ago. She filed a lawsuit against that company. Usually if you file a lawsuit against your employer, they make terms in any settlement agreement that you are never to set foot on their property again. (I don't know if she settled, won, lost the suit or whatever, but still she probably is not supposed to even go there).  I know, because I sued an employer one time it was specified in the terms of our settlement agreement that I was not supposed to go back there, and also that I was prohibited from talking to anyone who worked there about the terms of the lawsuit or the settlement agreement. Even if its been 20 years, she may in the wrong by going back to that workplace. That is, if somebody really wanted to make an issue out of it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Sun, 01-05-2014 - 9:27pm

As I said in my post, she pursued legal action but LOST.  There was no basis for a suit, and no settlement.  She lost.  But I wasn’t asking about legal ramifications, so I don’t want to get bogged down in all that – there was no case.  I was simply seeking feedback regarding going back to visit a former co-worker who stabbed her in the back. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011
Mon, 01-06-2014 - 4:12am

   I personally would not go back or have  anything  to do with this Jan person, but apparently she does not feel that way. Maybe after 20 years she feels it is all water under the bridge and maybe she will feel as if she finally had closure. Also there may be others who  still work there that she knew and had a good relationship with prior to her leaving that she may want to see.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 01-06-2014 - 6:53pm

Well, I can see why you are concerned for your friend.   But, it sounds like that her Jan are friendly and 20 years is a very long time.  

Now, if the married woman was still working there, then I would say it is still a bad idea, even 20 years later.  But, if she is gone, then it might be fine.  

I have a feeling this is about you wanting to protect your good friend.  And she did ask for your opinion, correct?  

It is funny, because I just ran into someone over the weekend from my past and I still had a little bit of that "oh yea, I remember when....." and although we had a good visit, I am cautious about ever developing a friendship with them again.  So I do understand what you are getting at.  

With all of that said, I think your friend Kay is going to have simply follow her intution on this one.  Maybe she needs to see Jan in person to have some clarily on this situation.  It might be better for her to meet with her and think "hmmm....maybe we aren't really friends."  Instead of not meeting her then getting home and thinking "gosh darn it, I wish I would found the time to visit with Jan."  

Hope that makes sense.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Mon, 01-06-2014 - 11:25pm

Good points, Keepingitreal1. 

Actually, from what she’s told me there were quite a few people she had a really good consistent relationship with (it’s a huge corporation).  She said one guy in particular was a true friend and she has visited him and his wife at their home a few times throughout the years.  (He has since retired.)

But I told her this Jan would be the last person I would call or visit.  If I ran into her, it would maybe be “Hi and bye” (if that) – kwim?  But to go out of her way to call Jan makes me wonder if she felt she needed to prove to Jan she was doing well.  As I told her, she doesn’t need Jan’s approval.

I think it would be better to visit a few other people and let Jan hear about it later.