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Our department manager whose wife died in a vehicular accident three years ago is courting me. I’m single at 36 and he’s probably about 57 years old, ready to retire in a few years. I’m no longer comfortable with my situation. That’s why I’m planning to resign my high-paying work despite the difficulty in finding a replacement job. I can’t readily leave my job because I’m the only one supporting my aging parents and three siblings. Please give me your much anticipated valuable advice. – Nowhere to Go.
Can you hold on to your job until your boss’ retirement? Or at least you listen to this story: A wealthy retiree goes into a chic club with a stunningly young beautiful woman in tow. The old fellow turns up his pacemaker and they start to dance. The rock band plays an up-tempo music. He turns up his pacemaker again and keeps dancing.
Then, the band starts aggressively and plays an even faster number. He turns up his pacemaker even faster, still dancing. Then, suddenly, the old guy slumps over on the floor. The bartender comes over and asks: “Want me to call the paramedics?”
The girl responds, “No, just call the auto club. I think we can jump start him.”
Likewise, do you think you can jump start your boss so that he could come to his senses? Many people who belong to my age bracket (Forever 51) say love is grand but more than anything – it is a many-splendored thing. You may have a different opinion because of the issue of age disparity.
Your boss is a widower and he knows you’re single. Both of you are qualified to enter into a legitimate romantic relationship. But you’re not comfortable in that no-win situation. If you decide to reject the proposal, do it as a face-saving measure for the two of you. But before doing anything, you’ve to observe a number of sensible rules that you can explore before resigning your lucrative job.
Here are few practical guidelines for your consideration:
- Know the company’s applicable management policies. Some organizations, like those in the banking or pharmaceutical industries have certain clear-cut rules against office romance. These rules are imposed so that the parties may not “gang-up” or connive for certain financial transactions at the organization's expense. If an office romance starts to bloom, one party, preferably the one with the lowest rank, is compelled to go. If there are no company rules against office romance, then you have to try other approaches.
- Consult your superior's boss. Sometimes, it’s better to check this issue with a woman boss who could easily understand your situation. Your objective is to seek counsel but your approach should be based on the fact that your work performance could suffer if your boss continues to have his way. Either way, your boss may saddle you with several difficult projects, if not give you special consideration (like merit increase) even if you don’t deserve it. Use these arguments to convince top management that it is to the company’s advantage that you should be transferred to another department or geographical assignment. Whatever the result, seek an agreement with top management that the issue should be treated as private and confidential.
- Say "no" to your boss without being abrasive. If all else fails in your attempt to avoid the affections of your boss, then you have to address the issue head-on. Say “no” in a very nice way. Discourage any remark that borders on sexual harassment like responding to your boss’ affirmative comment about your appearance or choice of clothes. This includes listening to green jokes or anything that may be discomforting to you even if you overhear them. Tolerating these remarks tends to encourage such behavior on an indiscriminate basis.
As the “victim” here, you are the first line of defense in preventing the situation from worsening. To properly carry out this responsibility, it is necessary to take action immediately as it happens. After all, I don’t think your boss will go to the extreme of winning you at all cost without endangering his remaining years in the office.
DO YOU WANT TO CHALLENGE THIS ADVICE? This article is for non-management people who can’t raise an issue against his/her boss for fear of reprisal or job insecurity. If you’re part of management who has an opposing or supporting view, then send us your position by citing your own experience or any published material. Send feedback to email@example.com or follow Rey Elbo for his random management thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.
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