In my nearly fifty years in the business world, I've learned that both sexes do an amazing job of fantasizing what members of the opposite sex think of them or how they interact with them. These daydreams are often quite detailed and often R-rated. There is only one problem with them--they are false vignettes that have nothing to do with reality.
Members of both sexes, but it appears in men more than women, often act on these fantasies. They approach a co-worker with the intent of taking their fantasy to the next level--reality. In a setting where there are no other obligations, this can result in a slap in the face or worse. Brings the fantasizer back to reality very quickly.
In a work setting where the target works for the fantasizer, works in the same general group as the fantasizer or even works for the same company, fantasy becomes harassment very quickly. These are dangerous and often illegal situations. The fantasizer can be sued, fired or in extreme cases, perhaps even jailed. Such situations were the root cause of the #metoo movement.
What is the test to determine if you are in a destructive set of conditions as I have described above? It is very simple--ask yourself if all that is occurring is being done to spin your company's invoice printer in a legal, moral and ethical manner. For if during working hours, and I'll add, even after working hours but involving people with whom you work, anything not being done in a manner where the ultimate goal is to spin your company's invoice printer in a legal, moral and ethical manner, you are in trouble already or about to be in trouble.
Human passions and attractions are very, very strong. You can end up in a situation that is completely unprofessional and leading to a career and personal disaster quickly. You can even justify it to yourself as being "special" or "no one else understands." There was a famous case a few years ago of a governor of a state in the southeastern US who decided his dalliance with a woman from South America (I think it was Argentina) was the most amazing, special, "you wouldn't understand" relationship in the history of the universe. It, of course, ended as a complete disaster.
Join us in Guatemala next summer for the 3rd Paperitalo Papermakers' Mission Trip [12.06.18]
You may get lucky and only be fired from your job. Of course, you will need to explain that to your spouse, children, parents, friends and future employers. Good luck with the three or four years of your life it takes to straighten all that out.
There are more subtle situations that don't end up consuming the entire neighborhood in flames. You may take advantage of coworkers and they may play along for fear of losing their own jobs. You have put them in a difficult situation and if you are a decent human being you'll find a way to break it off.
It is just possible you have created a situation where you are looking forward every day to go to work in order to be near the target of your fantasy. Have you thought that your target may be dreading coming to work for exactly the same reasons, that is, because of the situation you created? You are blind to the environment of your own making, blithely going along thinking the world is great. The other person is wondering what they did to deserve this treatment and how to get out of this situation.
As I stated earlier, this seems to be largely a hostile world created by men, with only a few women adopting the, shall we say, "stalker" attributes. So, men, I challenge you to look at the situations around you and if you think there is any possibility you have been the author of such a disaster, fix it, properly and professionally, now.
For safety this week, we'll keep harping on it--distracted thinking, and what I have described here is distracted thinking of the highest order, leads to accidents. That is all you need on top of the rest of this mess you have created--an accident.
Be safe and we will talk next week.