Sunday, January 29, 2006

Your Cheating Heart

Most people think sex and work don't go together but they do. Ask any CEO and they will tell you their company has strict policies forbidding such activities (him banging his secretary doesn't count). Based on my experience, here are the typical scenarios you will see in any company.

First, we have the single people dating other single people. By definition, all scenarios of dating at work are bad decisions, this is the easiest. Maybe it works out, maybe not. If you aren't dating your boss, you will probably come out unscathed.

Next, we have a single employee dating a married employee or two married employees dating each other. Either way, no good will come of it. Many a day I have watched or heard about this scenario. The little details of how they try to avoid discovery, such as stealing glances, leaving for lunch separately yet returning at the same time, volunteering to work on projects together, etc. Never underestimate the power of body language and subtle giveaways. How does this end?

Tip: When the spouse of the cheater shows up at work and security is called for a workplace violence incident, you probably won't get promoted anytime in the near future.

Even if it works out and the couple ends up together, the woman is always the cheating whore who works in the (fill-in-the-blank) department. Equal opportunity does not apply with affairs at work. Men are smacked on the wrist for bad judgement but women are done moving up the ranks. Why? This type of behavior is passed off as a lapse in judgement for men that does not reflect on their abilities at work. With women, this is more than a scarlet A on the chest. Such women are lepers. While men in management may admire her ability to be fun, such a woman cannot lead others. Her credibility is gone. Male employees only want to sleep with her and female employees will claw her eyes out. Before long, she will leave for "a better opportunity." This doesn't happen with men. Men are expected to stray. Men can get a blowjob and lead a meeting at the same time. Any scenario such as this usually results in the woman leaving her job. Either she cannot be effective or the social scorn drives her out.

Tip: Don't get involved with married coworkers. If you are a woman, you probably won't get the man. Men in these situations don't want another wife. If you are one of the few who do get the man, don't be surprised when he starts sleeping with someone else after your wedding. There is nothing taboo, AKA exciting, about sleeping with your wife. Also, even if he marries you, you won't be able to stay at work after the scandal so you will now become a boring housewife. How stupid will you feel when your skills are out of date, your husband is now banging another coworker, and you have 2.5 kids to feed who won't get squat because your husband is already paying through the nose for the wife and kids you wronged?

So how does this all relate to my job in HR? Well, I am usually contacted about such scenarios very early. With employees that I work with frequently, I can usually tell by watching them. I am in the business of watching people. Another clue is power. When one of the parties has some, they usually abuse it. When someone starts getting preferential treatment, it is a sign. Such managers can't hide behind their right to make decisions for long.

My other experience is a bit more personal. I have had male employees tell me that conquering a female HR employee is the ultimate conquest. After I picked my jaw off the floor, it all made sense. Silly little me thought men would realize HR employees would be the last people to date and/or cheat. After thinking about it (and getting some valuable male input), I have come to the following conclusions regarding why HR employees make a great chase for male employees:
  • HR is predominately female. The field to chose from is larger.
  • HR tends to have attractive women. Before you laugh, while HR still has the stereotypical, older schoolmarm types, there are a lot of young women in HR.
  • HR signifies power. Even if HR is not aligned to have power in an organization, the nature of the business HR conducts gives them power. I have been in meetings and seen the look that says, "I'd love to show YOU who's boss by ..........."
  • HR is untouchable. The forbidden fruit. HR knows any type of sexual behavior is wrong. To make someone do something they know is wrong is the ultimate power trip.
  • Revenge. If an employee holds HR responsible for something impacting them, why not screw them over by, well, screwing them?

1 comment:

Baba Ganoush said...

I admire how you laid out the facts with regard to the differential treatment meted out to men and women for indulging in the same act (sinful or not). However, knowledge is power and this is good advice esp. for women in the workplace. BTW, I am a male ;)