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As a young intern a couple of years ago in a reputable and fairly large company, I was hit on by one of my supervisors who was old enough to be my father. Even after repeated rejections, he persisted in offering me rides to and from work, and e-mailing me to ask me out on dates. It got to a point when I thought enough was enough, and decided to bring the matter up to my direct boss. That put a stop to the harassment. But on top of leaving an indelible impression on me as a young intern, it also got me pondering: What in the world was he thinking? Wasn’t he worried about marring his professional image and career?
Dating someone at the workplace isn’t a mortal sin, especially if it’s a genuine relationship you’re having. It’s just that if you’ve been tasked to manage and mentor a bright young thing, these are three golden rules that I think you should observe, so that things never get out of hand.
Don’t Take Advantage Of Her Innocence
When we’re young and new to the workforce, we often look up to men of authority as career advisors, father figures and sexual challenges all rolled into one. But don’t let that get to your head. Being objective and showing restraint are the qualities that we secretly expect from you, even if our mannerisms may tell a different story.
A friend once told me that she had a brilliant and handsome boss who took her under his wing when she first entered the banking industry after school. She had a huge crush on him, and as much as she flirted with him, he never once crossed the line. Now that she’s older, she thinks the world of him for not taking advantage of his authority.
Never Make Her The Centre Of Your Focus
A couple of years ago, a male ex-colleague, who was married, had a smart, sweet young thing placed under his charge. He unwittingly showered her with so much attention that his other subordinates became resentful. It got to a point where they started spreading rumours about him having an affair with his protege. Although it wasn’t true, his wife came to know about it. However, to salvage his marriage, he finally decided to leave the company.
It may seem natural for you to fixate on the person who shows the most potential, but you should realise that if you have a group of subordinates, you should be dividing your attention equally among all of them, or jealousy may rear its spiteful head and bite you when you least expect it.
Flirting Is Allowed, But Watch The Boundaries
Yes, we all know that flirting can help boost productivity and oil the cogs of a working relationship. But as the man in charge, you’d have to ensure that it’s genuinely harmless.
Generally, we appreciate it if our male colleagues or bosses imply that we’re attractive in an off-limits, non-sexual kind of way.
The things is, you don’t have to be a robot in the office, but never let things get intimate. After all, it’s not a good idea to have power over someone and try to be her buddy.
All in all, if you’re able to professionally handle the daily proximity to a babe without letting attraction get in the way, take pride in the fact that your position gives you the opportunity to spend time with a charming young woman who thinks the world of you.