Ask Rene:
Help! Can Work And Relaxation Go Hand-In-Hand? 

Hi Rene:

First of all, I’ve followed your reinvention and I have to say  I’m so proud of you and all that you are doing.  I saw your  Sweet Retreats teasers and think you will be great for something like that. Interestingly enough, this is sort of a travel-relationship kind of question.

My family has booked a big ski weekend in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to go. The only problem is my brother just started dating one of my co-workers, well more specifically, my immediate supervisor. She’s not a bad woman but she tends to be a bit on the prickly side.  My fear is that my family is very outgoing and fun-loving and I’m the same way, just not at work. I’ve kept my distance from parties and get-togethers and would like to keep it that way. 

I don’t know this woman well and am a little unsure of what to do next. Should I  let her know now that I’d like to keep my private life private?  Do I need to watch what I say around her? Should I ask my brother not to bring her? Should I just say nothing and relax?

I don’t want to ruin this trip for anyone in my family, but my work reputation means a lot to me.  Help!

Signed, Snow Bunny in Hell


Dear SNIB:

When I was a kid one of my mother’s favorite things to say to me (which, in turn, has become one of the favorites to say to my own kids) is, “Don’t borrow trouble” and right now,  you’re in overdraft. Slow down, take a deep breath and let’s walk through this, shall we? Here’s what I would do if I were you.


Oh we are so good at this, jumping to the worst case scenario, aren’t we? I don’t mean to pooh-pooh this, but  as someone on the outside looking in, I really think you’re making this a much bigger deal than you need to. People are different when they’re on vacation; they’re more relaxed and just generally easier to get along with. That may be the case with this woman and you, for that matter. Don’t go into it looking for trouble. If you do, trust me, you will find it. Or create it.

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Sure, speak to your brother but be careful what you say. This is his vacation too; he wants to have a good time and is not looking to place you in an uncomfortable position. Depending on your relationship, I don’t see the harm in going to him and explaining that you feel a little awkward about this. He’ll probably understand  but don’t ask him  to leave her at home. That’s not your business okay?  You’ll definitely be over the tips of your skis if you do.

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You know what might actually happen? You relax, she relaxes , everyone has a great time and you come away with a better understanding and possibly, better relationship with this woman. That may or may not carry over to the workplace and if I were you, I wouldn’t expect it to. Those are two completely different environments; one fun, the other professional so don’t think that the things you shared on the slopes will carry over into sales meetings. 

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I hope that helps. Unless you plan on hot-tubbing in the nude or engaging in some sort of illegal activity, I’d say you’re probably safe. Place your concern where it needs to be, which is getting off the slopes in one piece.

Good luck and have fun!

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