Unfortunate workplace incidents

Whether you work at an office or 100 percent remotely from home, it’s obvious that there are clear pros and cons to both sides. Neither is a perfect fit, and it really depends on your life and career stage which is going to fit you at any given time. One thing I will say that I absolutely do not miss about working at an office is that while I am remote, I will never have to deal with inane, petty, and childish human resources complaints like I did at my last company, whether it’s someone reporting me to HR because I asked them to lower their voice as they were shouting over the phone in the middle of the open floor plan at the office (yes, this really happened), someone else reporting me for not wishing them a happy birthday (this, sadly, is very, very true), or me catching someone watching porn on their work computer during work hours, reporting it, and then having our HR partner gaslight me and question whether I really did see what I saw (“How do you know for sure that it was porn? Can you please describe the details of what you saw or heard? Can you mimic what you heard? Who else witnessed this?” YES, THIS REALLY HAPPENED, and apparently, my word isn’t enough. You always need other people to vouch for this crap!)).

But sadly, at each annual success and sales kickoff, whether it was at my former company or current company, I always hear about unscrupulous incidents that happen which inevitably involve HR intervention or sexual innuendo that I want no part of. Some people blame it on the presence of alcohol; I blame it on a bunch of so-called professionals who claim to be mature adults, but attend these official company events as though it’s their time to do whatever they want to do and not recognize that these events are actually WORK EVENTS, not personal parties. You may wear more revealing clothing or higher heels at these events. You may drink more at these events than if you were at an office. That’s no excuse to think these are “pickup” events where you can “score” with your colleagues as though they are random people at your local bar.

All the annual President’s Club awards were announced, and a number of colleagues I work with were declared as winners. I made my way around, wishing them congratulations. But one of them was particularly odd. First, he accused me of writing up multiple bullet points of negative feedback about him “that he would forgive me for.” Then, he insisted that “something went wrong” between us and that he didn’t know what happened. I was confused, as I never wrote anything about anyone. Then, before I could even ask additional questions, he suggested that I be his plus-one at President’s Club weekend. This was not only completely ridiculous, but totally inappropriate. I told him there was no way that was going to happen, and he asked, why not? What’s wrong with that? I asked him if he was joking, and he said, no. Then, he insisted that I be his plus-one, and said that there were rumors going around that our camaraderie was more than just colleagues, and that he knew there was something between us. I told him that was insane and wrong, and before I could walk away, thankfully a colleague came by to check up on us, and I left with her. And as I told her what happened, a few other female colleagues came by and shared that this same male colleague had accosted them about negative feedback in the last day. No one had mentioned any sexual provocation, though.

“Something between” us made my stomach turn. We worked on two accounts together. We saw each other in person only twice ever (at this kickoff and last year), and while we have been friendly over Slack and text, I could read through all my Slack messages and texts and see zero flirtation. This guy was crazy. Not to mention: if you want to try your luck and score with one of your female colleagues, maybe, just maybe accusing them of talking crap about you behind their back is not the best way to convince them to join you on a long weekend trip paid by your company….?!

Even at the best companies, there’s always going to be one or two slimy, awful people who you never want to interact with ever again, and you’d want to keep away from anyone you cared about. And only time will tell how this situation unfolds.

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