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Reblogged:23 and Me ... and My CEO?

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Lots of people, including a recent letter-writer to Alison Green at Ask a Manager, get their DNA tested out of curiosity about their ancestry.

I am not one of them, in part because I do not trust our government-run medical-"insurance" system or other parts of the entitlement state not to obtain the information without my knowledge or consent and then use it in ways I would not approve of.

If that sounds paranoid or overly cautious, so be it, but you might reconsider doing this, given that one "feature" is that complete strangers who pop up as related can be actively notified.

The title of the post just about says it all: "A DNA Test Revealed the CEO Is My Half Brother ... and He's Freaking Out."

I think the events are worth considering even if you are absolutely certain there aren't any surprises in your family tree, because it shows just how radically two different people might view and act on the exact same information.

The letter-writer was surprised, but reacted calmly. The CEO ... did not:
Image by Hanno Böck, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
None of my siblings have initiated contact and neither has Dad.

I've met the CEO a few times but he works out of the corporate headquarters across the country from the smaller division where I work. About a week after I got my results, an email went out from the head of HR stating that all staff had to take a refresher training on nepotism. The training also included a new clause that said something like "staff are not entitled to privileges personal or professional if familial relation by genes or marriage to executive or management staff is known or unknown or discovered during employment." Other than being clunky verbiage, I felt like it was aimed at me. I found out no other branch had to retake the nepotism training and the email only came to our office. My manager later pulled me in personally to ask if I had any questions about the policy. She was vague and uncomfortable, and I said I wanted to know why nobody else was brought in 1:1 to talk about the policy and why no other branch had to do the training. She just kind of ignored the question and said she was just following instructions, so now I think this was aimed at me. [bold added]
Green gives reasonable advice and fleshes out how the CEO learned the identity of his half-brother, but I prefer what another favorite advice columnist had to say within the comment thread:
The CEO is going so overboard about this that personally I would not send a note or acknowledge it in any way beyond documenting the heck out of the emails, manager meetings, forced training, etc. in case it gets even weirder. It's not the LW's job to try to proactively set this guy's mind at ease or avoid non-existent nepotism, especially when he's the only one making it an issue at work. If it quietly blows over, great! If it doesn't, quietly job-hunting will serve the LW well, and being able to honestly say "Far from seeking special favors, I've literally never brought it up with him, as I firmly believe private medical and family matters have no bearing on work" might be an asset if it comes to an actual HR or legal dispute. I'd also say nothing to colleagues and let management explain why your office has to do special training so you can't be on the hook for spreading "gossip." Let all the weirdness stay on his side of the family tree! [bold added]
The best that can be said about this situation is that, with the cat out of the bag, at least the letter-writer knows this is going on and can "return awkward to sender," after a fashion.

-- CAV

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