The Most Important Word In Your Work Vocabulary

Just say no. Are we talking about drugs? No, we’re talking about firmly turning down that date at the office or factory. Sure, the biggest thing you two have in common is your employer. But the next biggest thing you two will have in common is: everyone’s in your business.

And when the romance is over, you’re stuck with leftover regrets. That’s why it’s best to turn down that boss or coworker. Explain to him: it’s not personal. Really, it is personal. But don’t tell him that, because you must protect yourself from him, from other coworkers and from Human Resources.

Yes, you even need to watch out for Human Resources. Even if you don’t immediately report sexual harassment, your boss may turn the tables on you and report you as the harasser. But how can that be? If you’ve dated the coworker or boss, HR will fault you for the messy breakup. You know: the I-don’t-want-to-date-you-anymore breakup. Now you’ve bruised your boss’s ego.

He intends to destroy your reputation. And your coworkers will help the boss because your coworkers will be left with only two choices: lose their jobs or destroy your credibility. It’s that simple.

A woman called Sidney contacted me recently. She stated that she went on two dates with the boss then dropped him. Although he didn’t fire Sidney immediately, he dogged her at work by casting aspersions on her and docking her pay.

He even excluded her from office meetings in which she was the sexual subject. This is disturbing because Sidney never slept with the boss. After kissing him, she decided his kisses were too sloppy and unromantic. So she pulled back.

Although Sidney admits she was a fool for blurring the lines between work and romance, she failed to understand that her boss made a pre-emptive strike by slut shaming her, even though she’d never slept with him. She realized too late that the boss executed a power play to prevent her from disparaging him. But Sidney never engaged in kiss and tell. In fact, she hadn’t mentioned her boss to her best friend because deep-down she knew her best friend wouldn’t have approved of dating in the office.

Now Sidney works at a new employer. After a few coworkers asked her out, she calmly but firmly said no. It didn’t matter that she may have met her match. It only mattered that she didn’t blur the lines of work and personal. What would you do?

 

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The Babes In The Office

“Can you process this C84, Babe?” He’s not your romantic interest. He’s your boss, requesting that you process a form that pays for temporary total disability at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Is it wrong for your boss to call you ‘babe,’ ‘dear,’ or ‘honey?’ Yes. Answering to this term is one of many office sex games you should not play.

In fact, speak up. Diplomatically and firmly tell your boss that you prefer only answering to your given name and not ‘babe’. Now, this might ripple the waters. But if your boss is constantly referring to you in terms of endearment, the waters are already foaming because your boss just claimed ownership of you. Or, at least, he is trying to do so.

Your boss’s persistence in using terms of endearment forebodes a storm of sexual harassment, hostile work environment and continuous retaliation. Fearful of doing something about it? Don’t be afraid of exposing your boss. Your situation is already precarious.

If you give in, your boss owns you and will continue to use you. If you reject him, he’ll try owning you and using you. So exposure is the only way to solve the problem. This means a trip to Human Resources or your local Fair Employment Practices Agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC.

Approaching the EEOC can be a daunting process. A certain amount of guilt about turning in your boss could torpedo your resolve. Now you’ve become distrustful of the system and fearful of the future. Now you are stymied. You back out of reporting your boss to the EEOC and hope that the working relationship between you and your boss improves.

What if it doesn’t? What if your boss brushes past you, and, in the process, molests you? By the time you process the fear, anger takes over. If the anger is uncontrollable, that signifies trouble because you’re not seeking justice. In fact, you’re now seeking revenge.

Deal with your thirst for revenge by seeking counseling. A pastor or psychologist can redirect your purpose and can give you focus. Either way, you’ll fortify yourself against the oncoming battle. Did you think your boss wouldn’t retaliate after you contacted the EEOC or even Human Resources? In most cases, there’s always a counter-attack from your boss. You just got to be ready for it.

Have you got a story about sexual harassment or bullying? Talk to someone. Or it will eat up your life.

Avoiding The Boss And Female Coworkers

He leans in and blows in your ear. Sometimes he licks your ear with his tongue. Your husband or boyfriend? No. Your boss. He’s the two-faced manager at the office. He projects two images. In one image, he presents himself as a professional, highlighting his family-man status. In the other image, he furtively seeks office sex games from unwilling lower level workers like yourself.

You’re the prey. At first you find the situation confusing. But you soon learn that you must decide whether to play in the lion’s den.

Perhaps you feel compelled to comply with your boss’s sexual overtures. After all, how will you feed your family? How will you pay the bills?

But what happens if you refuse your boss’s sexual advances? Unless you have connections that can assist you with the dilemma, you become the hunted one–in more ways than one. Everyone knows the boss wants to sleep with you. Hell, some even figure the boss already has slept with you.

Now your bold, male coworkers proceed to make their sexual moves. One or two asks you out. You turn them down because you don’t want to mix business with pleasure. And all hell breaks loose.

Loose is definitely how the office subsequently labels you. After all, you had to do something to keep the men chasing you. Perhaps they really did catch you. But what if they didn’t catch you? Coworkers will have destroyed your office reputation for nothing.

And in such a precarious situation, who can you turn to? No one at the office. Other coworkers fear speaking up. But then you have that majority of coworkers who prove vicious. You know who they are. Other women. Instead of holding their hand out to you, your female coworkers cross their arms. Or clench their fists.

Whether it’s because of pure jealousy or plain snobbishness, your female coworkers can prove detrimental to your career and subsequently to your health. Non supportive coworkers hold little or no tolerance for victims of sexual harassment. Instead those same coworkers heap insults. They join in the fun and games–conspiracy, really–against you.

With your coworkers partnering with management to destroy your office reputation, what can you do? You should file sexual harassment and hostile work environment charges at a Fair Employment Practices Agency like the EEOC. If this step has already been completed, you should file continuous retaliation charges.

Although you will not gain any friends by blowing the whistle on others, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The EEOC may help you win the pending sexual harassment and continuous retaliation charges.

Are you having bullying or sexual harassment problems on your job? Do you need someone to talk with you? I’d love to hear from you. Email me.