Recently one of the girls in our office has developed a princess attitude. She is constantly talking about herself and makes everything be about her. If she is not the center of attention, then the world is not right. She likes to float around all day and flirt with the men that work here. She also kisses a lot of butt during the day.
I have repeatedly expressed my frustrations and feelings to the two top leaders, but have basically been squashed. Now there is an extreme amount of tension in the office and it is because of her. She is acting like the victim. I am frustrated because I feel like I am in a no-win situation. Yet I’m the office manager. I’ve asked the bosses to address this, but if anything I feel like it has added fuel to the fire and everything is on her side. A new office clique has seemed to have started, with her as the center and the rest are all men.
I’ve about had it but don’t know what to do.
Fed-Up with the Office Flirt
OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY FRANKE JAMES
Dear Fed-Up with the Office Flirt,
The flirtatious Princess (The Flirt) in your midst does sound nauseating, but let’s try to get some perspective so you can stomach working in the same office. The Flirt is using her sex appeal as a tool to increase her value in the office. The guys around her are clearly enjoying the game. This is an age old story.
Sex, or even the promise of sex, in the office creates an unprofessional environment (unless you’re in the pornography business). It’s hard for anyone to concentrate on work when sex is the undercurrent of every conversation — even if you aren’t participating. Many companies today have strict policies and have banned office romances outright (or transferred or fired employees when love blooms) for just these reasons.
As the Office Manager you have done the responsible thing and reported her behavior to the company owners. They’ve ignored and rejected your concerns. It will take a public embarrassment (remember the Boeing CEO who was fired over a sexual impropriety with an employee? Or think back to that infamous intern in the White House…) to make them realize that there are many good reasons, directly connected to the bottom-line, to discourage sex in the office. Do we want to go back to the times when it was commonplace for CEO’s to have sex with their secretaries? Enron, Worldcom and the myriad other misbehaving corporations have made the public skittish. Sexual hijinks in the office make people nervous about the company’s morals. Even when there is no grounds for concern.
So what can you do? Unfortunately you are now perceived as ‘the morals police‘. I suggest you step back so that her behavior becomes the hot topic in the office, not yours. Most office romances have a short lifespan. Especially if she is jumping from bed to bed, or desk to desk in this case.
Rest assured, it’s only a matter of time before the Flirt’s name is unflatteringly associated with an embarrassing sexual faux pas. Hope this helps. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Franke James, MFA
Editor & Founder, Office-Politics.com
Franke James, MFA is the Editor & Founder of Office-Politics.com. She is also the Inventor of The Office-Politics® Game a dilemma-based social game that teaches you how to play, and laugh, at office politics. It’s used by HR departments, and corporate trainers worldwide. The Office-Politics Dilemmas have been inspired by the hundreds of letters submitted to Office-Politics.com.
Publication note: This letter was originally published in April 2005. We are republishing the best letters from Office-Politics and integrating them with our blog format.