Sex And Career Advancement

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about  an apparently attractive woman who has slept her way up: I don’t want her to be my boss because I will do all her work and get no promotion.

I work in large corporation, which has written rules prohibiting sex and relationship in the workplace. My young blond coworker has advanced herself from assistant to senior technical position without any experience in 3 years. Her ex-manager spent more than $50,000 of company money sending her for training, but she learned nothing. She has dated at least 4 married VPs to get promotion. She has broken 2 marriages and a VP secretly married her against company policy. Since she has neither skills nor experience, she uses men coworkers or even the some VPs to do her job and takes all credit. She uses her power of gets rid of anybody she doesn’t like. Even though she’s married, she still flirts or does whatever it take to get ahead and secure her position.

Now, my new boss, a married VP, likes her very much and is thinking of promoting her to be my manager. Almost everybody in my department knows about her techniques, but would not say anything because of fear of losing their jobs. I don’t want her to be my boss because I will do all her work and get no promotion. I don’t want to quit and look for another job either. I’m thinking of anonymously reporting behaviors and her marriage to HR. Any suggestions?

Signed,  Anon???

Dear Anon???:

The sleeping-her-way-up scenario you present is frequently grist for workplace gossip and is not unusual to be woven through romance novels and film. The idea of anonymously “outing” her marriage to a VP, that is against corporate policy is appealing, but dangerous for several reasons.

· Should you do that you will constantly wonder if you will be discovered as the anon. · You might be wrong. The information of her marriage could be spiteful gossip or something said to you in confidence.

· Even if you are correct, since it is a done deal, this winsome politically savvy coworker will survive an investigation and suspect/assume you are the individual who leaked it. The fact is you dislike her tricks and fear her power. And in spite of what an anonymous letter might do, your current boss might name her to be your boss. However, you still have the option of making a pre-emptive strike by speaking with your current boss about not wanting this coworker to be assigned over you. It would be understandable for you to do this.

Even before voicing your dislike of the prospect of your coworker becoming your boss, you are faced with weighing whether to say anything to your boss will alienate your relationship with him. Undoubtedly if you elect to do that, she will suspect or learn for a fact that you did, and working with her after that will probably be an open or unannounced war. Also if you elect to confront your current boss, you must decide if the matter of your coworker’s flirting and marriage should be avoided, incidentally mentioned, or featured in making the case against her being made your boss. Or the case against her being promoted over you could focus only on not wanting a coworker, whom you think has caused others to be fired and takes credit for others’ work.

Yet you still have four alternatives based on your own career path: One is to say nothing other about not wanting her to be your boss, but it is to compete with her; asking your current boss to make you Ms. Blond’s boss. Two is to request a transfer so that your career path might be enriched by wider experience within the company. Three, is to by-pass your boss and to meet with HR or managers at a higher level to ask for an investigation of your coworker. Four, is to have the courage to speak with your coworker about not wanting her appointed your boss and/or about asking for an investigation of her sexual exploits and manipulation.

None of the choices you will make are without risk. Even biting your tongue and seeing what happens, could mean that you could have to cope with your coworker being your boss who takes credit for work dumped on you and she could get you fired. Think through the pros and cons of these options. I hesitate to say one of the choices will fix the anxiety that prompts your question. Probably none of them or others that might spring to mind can do that.

But I am sure that mumbling to your self or rumbling about it with coworkers will not. Interpersonal workplace dilemmas from time to time pop up. Some of us are content to quietly cope; others will subtly fight, and a few will claw their way within a corporate structure. What you decide to do will hinge on what you predict will work and on what you think is ethically right. My general rule of thumb is that a fight needs not be a hateful battle, but that if you fight, you do as you would want to be done to you if someone were opposed to you.

That would mean candidly speaking with your coworker of your worry and dislike of her becoming your boss and stating you will make that clear to your current boss. You could be honest with her as to the reasons you don’t want her as a boss because of her sleeping her way up and getting rid of others or you could simply say that you don’t want her to be your boss. Possibly my associate workplace doctor, Tina Lewis Rowe, will see your situation differently and once she sees what I’m sending you, will disagree and propose a different approach. If so you will be fortunate because she’s very smart about such matters.

My final thought is not to allow this rumored appointment of your coworker over you to become an obsession. Don’t allow it to plays over and over. Simply decide on what would be best for all concerned and then face the music; but don’t expect it to be harmonious. Harmony is desired, but dissonance is what we can live with. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and make big WEGOS. By that I mean to do what it takes on your part to work though the interpersonal problems that need resolution. What might you learn from your coworker, both what she has accomplished that is worthwhile and what you cannot accept as honest? And what, if anything, might you do to help your coworker to save-face but to no longer be rewarded for behavior that is against policy and is unhealthy for you and your corporation? Please feel free to keep us posted on what you do and what transpires.

William Gorden