Last night, I received a call from a dear friend who was very upset.
This is a woman I have known for years - way back to the days when I was with PBS in New York City. We were in each other's weddings. She flew out to see me when I had my first baby. And, I did the same for her.
Even though we live 3000 miles away from each other now, we still stay in touch. And, when we get on the phone it is like no time has passed at all. So, when Janet called late last night to talk, I heard the tone of her voice and knew right away that something was wrong.
You see, Janet (that is not her real name, but we'll her that for the sake of this story) had attended her company holiday party last night. She has been working with this company for about two years now.
Janet feels like she has developed some great working relationships with the people in her organization. In fact, she's often told me about her co-workers and her experiences working with them. I am always impressed with the great synergy that seems to come from their work together. She respects them and feels they respect her as well. Yet, last night when she called she was distraught and her tone had changed to stressed rather than thankful.
Janet has been working on a particular project for several months. She's been having trouble completing the project because of one issue she can't quite seem to get worked out. Janet has been talking to me about it quite a bit lately, on our phone calls when we catch up on all the latest in our lives. So, when she brought the project up again, I already knew the struggle and stress she had been dealing with.
But last night, Janet's story wasn't about the project. It was about something else...something neither Janet, nor I, would have ever expected to happen.
Janet started in telling me the story. She was obviously upset and I could her it in her voice. She told me every little detail because it was so crazy to her that this incident had occurred. She wanted to be sure she explained exactly the way it happened.
Janet had attended her company holiday party alone. Her husband would have normally attended the party with her. But, this year, he was out of town tending to his mother who had gone into the hospital for a minor procedure the week before.
Janet's co-worker was also at the party alone. His wife did not attend and Janet wasn't sure why.
This man, Bob, and Janet worked together on projects at their company a lot. Janet is a manager, but Bob is one level above her and someone Janet counts on to help push certain pieces of her projects along. They work together on a regular basis and his opinion is important to Janet. So, when this man did something Janet would have never expected, Janet was completely taken by surprise.
Janet was talking with Bob about the project and the struggle she was having completing it. She explained how she had tried thinking about it in a few different ways and problem solving to find a solution. She respected Bob's opinion so she was trying to pick his brain to get another perspective on the matter.
As Janet explained the situation, Bob seemed to want to help. Finally, he suggested she come to his office so they could go over the situation again and dive into it a little more. They rarely had uninterrupted time at work. So, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get his full attention on the matter and maybe finally figure out how to finish this thing up.
But, when they went into his office something completely different occurred. Right after Bob shut the door and Janet began talking, he reached over and tried to KISS HER!!
Janet was shocked. I mean, Bob knew Janet was married. He knew her husband and Janet knew Bob's wife. They often sat together at company functions. Their kid's had even played together at Super Bowl parties and birthday parties.
She wasn't just confused by Bob's actions, she was distraught!
Janet is a strong person and leader. Yet, this incident left her feeling horrible and stressed. Was she making a bigger deal of this than she needed to? But, why would he ever think he could do something like this?
Bob was a man Janet had a great deal of respect for and she was seriously offended by his actions. Instead of seeing Janet as a colleague, Bob was acting like he saw her as someone he might have an affair with... The whole thing also sets her up for an extremely uncomfortable situation at work.
Nothing had changed at this party. She talked to him in a way, she felt, she would always talk to him at the office. Yes, they were both drinking. But, her actions were not misleading or suggestive in any way.
Janet said the situation made her wonder if Bob even recognized the hard work she put into her job. Or the value she was adding to their organization? And, how could he do this and risk creating an uncomfortable situation for them from that day on? Not to mention the fact that they are both MARRIED (and happily on her end).
After talking with Janet for quite some time and hearing her frustration, I really got to thinking.
I realized, this is a situation many of us have dealt with before. And, it is also a situation many more may deal with around this time of the year, during the holidays, when many of us are attending company parties and having more casual interactions with co-workers over drinks.
Since we are a community of working moms, I decided '' Women Hits'' is a topic we should delve into a little more. So, I am asking for your input and I'd like to hear from all of you. Please take a minute to answer the poll below. Your name will be kept completely anonymous. But, your input will give us a clear understanding of how often women hits occur and what we can do about it.
Please take this survey now!
Women Hits at a Company Party
Have YOU been hit on at a company party by a co-worker?
Please take a minute to answer a few questions at the link below.
Click here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KMDWLGB
Your name will be kept completely anonymous. So, please go here right away and give us your input.
Take the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KMDWLGB