I’m not the first guy to pen an article on watching yourself around females in the workplace, and unfortunately I won’t be the last either. I think it important however to continue to be counted among those that think visually undressing your co-workers and flirting with the opposite sex is in poor taste in the workplace and for it to come from a male perspective as well.
Thinking of your own workplace, ever had a woman walk by and then saw some guys turn and crane their necks for a long look at her backside? Anything wrong with that? What about the wink between males and shaking one of your hands like she’s soooo hot? She doesn’t know you’re giving her all that attention so what’s the harm? Plenty.
Come on guys. Surely in 2015 you’d think we’d be past all the flirting, sexual innuendos, hugs as excuses to feel their bodies next to yours and brushing up against co-workers and making it look like accidental contact. Come on. Most of us are well past these juvenile high school antics but not all of us – and that’s a problem. And don’t give me any of that, “well her skirts so short she’s just asking for it”, stuff either. You should know better.
Okay let’s play out one of these little fantasies. Where do you think things are really going to go anyhow? Do you honestly think you’re going to have a torrid love affair in the janitor closet, maybe pat her bum while she’s at the photocopiers without any reprisal, or bare it all for your pleasure after hours on your desktop? Really? Not happening. We can do better guys. Give them respect.
Most workplaces have codes of conduct in place to protect all workers; male and female from unwanted attention in the workplace. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s the boardroom, the office, the file room or the factory floor, you could find yourself out of work and fired for misconduct if you engage in inappropriate behaviour. As I write this there is a news story in Toronto with the Canadian Broadcasting Company and one of its ex-employees who was fired for his sexual advances and unwanted physical attention. That case is underway and is going to take a long time to wind its way through the system, but a reputation is lost, a company out a good employee, and a $50 million lawsuit launched by the disgruntled and fired employee for defamation of character. What a mess.
Females don’t dress in the workplace to excite and tease. There are rules for how to dress and what is acceptable and what is not. Any woman, (or man for that matter) who is exposing more skin than appropriate would be reminded of the policy and immediately asked to correct things. What a shame if you personally lost your job on the spot if it came to that, and you had to join the ranks of the unemployed for what amounted to an inappropriate comment, sexual advance or something similar. Not only would you be out of work but instead of kissing that woman, kiss your job, income and your references goodbye. Is it worth it? No!
Rules are put in the workplace to protect everyone. Everybody should feel the workplace is a safe place to be, and workers should respect each other in the same way they themselves would like to be thought of and respected. The days of the ‘old boys’ club where guys on a factory floor would make openly sexual jokes and use crude and vulgar language around their female co-workers are few and far between and hopefully almost extinct. Imagine the stress those woman were or are under having to appear ‘like one of the guys’ and take it in order to fit in, but when alone feel dirty, ill-used and ashamed.
My guess is that in some places you can have all the policies you want but there are still some men who see women as sexual objects to be snickered about and talked about. It’s wrong guys. Do yourselves a favour and be one of the first to tell your co-workers that you yourself don’t appreciate it. Stand up not only for that woman who walks by, but also for the culture and atmosphere you’re trying to create in your own workplace of respect for each other as people.
Social media including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are all in the news from time-to-time for all the wrong reasons; somebody pressures someone else for some nude photos and then they get shared and then someone’s reputation is soiled and sometimes leads to suicide, ridicule, shame and humiliation. See something you know is wrong? Don’t share it yourself and ask the person to take it down, remove it, stop the sharing and tell them why its wrong.
People have enough to worry about these days just learning their jobs, striving to do them well and fitting in without the added stress of prying eyes to worry about. So no more looks down necklines, mirrors under doors, offering women your lap instead of your empty chair. We are better than this men.
I’d like to ask you to pass this on, to share it with others. If it landed anonymously on your desk, you might ask yourself why too. Respect the women you work with for the women they are and what they contribute to the workplace. We’ll all be better off for it.