Etiquette Questions, Answered: Tricky Conversations
How Do I Tell My Boss That His Texting While Driving Makes Me Uncomfortable?
Q. My boss checks his e-mail and texts while he drives—even when I’m a passenger in his car. How do I tell him that this makes me extremely uncomfortable without causing any awkwardness between us?
A. Texting while driving is a dangerous thing to do. That’s why it’s against the law in 30 states. You should not be in a car with a driver who does it. Period.
That said, I certainly understand why you’re concerned your boss will think you’re being insubordinate or questioning his judgment. Bring up the topic in a neutral tone of voice and—this is key—when you aren’t in a car with him.
Here’s a strategy worth trying: Go to work early one day with a folded section of a newspaper under your arm. Endeavor to run into your boss in the parking lot or on the elevator or at the communal coffeepot. Then gesture to your newspaper and say, “Boy, that was a terrible story the other day about the driver who went off the bridge while typing on his gadget thing.” Then shudder.
If your boss doesn’t get the message, the next time you’re headed out on the road together, gently say, “Would you like me to drive so you can keep up with your e-mail? I know you’re very busy. And I promise not to drive us off a bridge!”