Keep your love life out of your office

John Heckers //February 10, 2010//

Keep your love life out of your office

John Heckers //February 10, 2010//

On one of the news websites, I just watched a hilarious piece that came from Australian TV. A financial pundit was speaking from his office about the economy, but, right behind him, apparently unaware that he was being broadcast to millions, a co-worker was opening pictures of a mostly nude model that had been featured in the latest issue of GQ. Even if this bloke keeps his job (doubtful), he will be known for the rest of his career as the “nude model guy on TV,” or the like. Perhaps he should emigrate.

People do incredibly stupid things with their sex lives at the office. These are usually very career-limiting, as well as possibly leading to broken marriages, great anguish and sexual harassment charges. Here are a few of the top things to avoid.

1). Never have an office romance. While many people meet their mate through their professional activities, most office romances end in disaster.

If you wind up meeting your soulmate at work, one of you needs to look for another job right away. Sooner or later, even if it works out, an office romance will cause trouble of one kind or another. Your credibility will be effected. You can be charged, if it doesn’t work out, with sexual harassment. Other employees who aren’t part of your romance can charge you with “hostile environment” sexual harassment. You’ll be accused of playing favorites. If you’re the boss and you’re in a romance with an employee, that employee will be seen as “sleeping his or her way to the top.” And, of course, if you’re married or in a committed partnership and having an office romance, forget about your reputation or your integrity. If your own spouse or partner can’t trust you to keep your word, why should anyone else?

2). Pornography is an absolute no-no. Downloading or viewing pornography at work is incredibly stupid. It can cause “hostile environment” sexual harassment charges. It can offend others incredibly. And, most importantly, it is stealing. If you’re watching porn at work you aren’t doing your job. If you aren’t doing your job, you’re stealing time and money from your employer.

Watching or downloading porn is almost always a terminating offense, for all of the reasons noted above. Your office computer or laptop is not private. Whatever you use at work, whether you own it or not, is subject to oversight and search by company representatives. In case after case, the courts have ruled that employees do not have a “right of privacy” when on company premises or while using company property.

3). No racy emails, even to your spouse or partner. There are just too many things that can go wrong — like accidently sending it to the whole company instead of your spouse or partner. I.T. departments have the right to view any emails you send. Many have a filter that looks for certain prohibited keywords to prevent the leaking of company secrets, or the sending of questionable emails. This is also usually a firing offense.

4). No affairs. More and more companies are taking a dim view of top officers carrying on extra-marital affairs. While a junior person might get away with it, corporate officers are just plain too visible for boards to be comfy with affairs that become public. For many reasons, honor your marriage or partnership vows.

5). No questionable humor. “Did you hear the one about….?” can be famous last words at the end of an otherwise promising career. Humor is not the best idea in the workplace to begin with. Sexual humor is an incredibly foolish move. Don’t tell naughty jokes anywhere near the workplace, even to friends while you’re at work. You never know who is listening and might not appreciate it.

6). Don’t kiss and tell. Keep descriptions of your bedroom adventures in the bedroom. No one needs to know the lewd details. It is not only inappropriate, but it will likely get repeated throughout the office.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to keep your private life entirely out of the work place. When it involves not just your private life, but also your private parts, keep it out of the workplace entirely. Work at work. Play on your own time and utilizing only your own property, not workplace property. Doing otherwise could severely limit your career, earning potential and employability.

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