There is an extremely hot looking contract worker here. She has just been put in my Department. She wears mini skirts and loves coming by so I can smell her perfume. Dilemma —> I’m married, but I think she is a player.
OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY DR. JOHN BURTON
Dear Sorely Tempted,
Put an icepack in your pants. That will solve your dilemma.
If a mini skirt and perfume have you thinking about cheating on your wife your first priority should be to straighten out your relationship at home. Making a pass at someone at work is a good way to create two real dilemmas for yourself. No marriage and no job.
It isn’t unusual to feel attracted to someone at the office. Working together creates a real sense of intimacy that our hormones cannot distinguish from appropriate feelings towards our partner. As a rational person you have to redirect the sexual energy you feel in the working relationship to an appropriate venue, like your spouse.
Even if you weren’t married, the workplace is noplace for torrid romance. Employers don’t appreciate it if you take time from your work to make time with your co-worker.
Not only do relationships at the office interfere with getting your job done, you also need to be aware of your company’s sexual harassment policies. If this contract worker perceives you as someone in authority you may be open to disciplinary or legal consequences even if she appears to be inviting or consenting to a relationship.
My final word – Leave your libido at home. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. He has taught alternative dispute resolution at Queen’s Law School and Ethics at the Schulich School of Business. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada’s aboriginal communities.
Publication note: This letter was originally published in August 2002. We are republishing the best letters from Office-Politics and integrating them with our blog format.