Advice: "My sales manager keeps prying into my personal life"

Want to submit a question and be featured in our advice column? Click here. (Don't worry, you'll remain completely anonymous).

Dear Quota Team

What would you do if your manager was constantly prying into your personal life? I work for a pretty competitive organization, and my manager has a reputation for being aggressive but also quite successful. But he seems to get too personal at times.

For example, he has asked about my home life, whether I’m married and have kids, which is fairly normal, but then he gets into questions about my finances. Do I have a mortgage? Do I lease or own my car? Do I have student loan debts and does my family carry debt at all? He has also asked what my parents do for a living.  

Normally, I would assume that this was just somebody who asked a lot of questions, but the thing is, he’s not really a friendly person in general, which makes the questions seem weird and out of place. Do you have any idea on how I can get him to stop? His nosiness creeps me out. 

Disconcerted in Location Withheld    


Dear Disconcerted,

Your sales manager could just be making small talk, but this reminds us of a story we heard from someone who is well-known in the sales community. Earlier in their career, their sales manager would pry into their personal life, and then use what they learned to manipulate them. 

For instance, when the numbers were down, the manager would say things like, “Well your child is sick, aren’t they? You wouldn’t want to let them down financially, right?” This is pure emotional manipulation, and has no place in the office.

Of course, it’s tough to tell whether this is your manager’s intention, but keeping him at arm's-length might be a good idea. The next time he asks something invasive, just give a vague answer without revealing anything at all. And if he doesn’t take the hint, just tell him you’d prefer to keep your work and home life separate. Good luck.  

You might also like

Everything sales, straight to your inbox.

Sign up for The Quota, a fun, free weekly newsletter for salespeople and sales leaders -- from the people who brought you Sales Humor.

Thanks for subscribing! Just one more step!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.