Ahhhh... you know how I hate keeping a secret, at least, I hate keeping my own secrets? And remember the day I was moved to tell you about my skanky pjs because HR made me keep my mouth shut? And you know how New Guy suddenly fell off the Big Map Of Mockery?
Well, here's the first in a five-part series: The Story of New Guy. Day 1 equates to about Feb 19th.
So, here's this new guy. First day of work. Our boss' boss makes a point of telling us, "Try to rein yourselves in. This guy's kind of conservative."
So, New Guy sits in his first meeting with us. Hot Young Coworker suddenly interrupts the meeting.
"Ellen! Are you staring at my boobs?"
"No. I was not. I was resting my eyes," I said, because Gary has used the "resting my eyes" excuse before and has found it effective. "Can we continue?"
Hot Y. C. covers her breasts with her hands. "What, are they drawing you into their powerful energy field?"
For full comic effect, I close my eyes and pause dramatically. I sighed to New Guy, "I am sorry. Please forgive [H.Y.C.]. This must be embarrassing to you."
New Guy makes non-committal New Guy noises.
New guy starts the day by complimenting another co-worker's shoes (they were darling shoes). This co-worker is also hot, and thirty-five ish. Let's call her Hot Mom.
"Nice shoes," he said.
"Thanks," she answered.
"Do you know what that means?" he asked, and proceeds to tell her there's an exchange in French Connection in which a man tells a woman "Nice shoes," and in the next scene, boom, they're in bed.
Hot Mom responded with the snake eye.
Unaware, and remembering Executive Cautions that New Guy is older (fifties) and thus must be conservative, I again apologize to New Guy at the end of the day for Hot Young Co-worker's behavior during the meeting.
"Oh, it doesn't bother me," he shrugged, "I was walked out of my last job for sexual harassment."
I was amazed. "What did you do," I asked.
"Oh, it was an awful job," he answered, or rather, didn't answer.
"Was it a misunderstanding?" I said sympathetically, because I am a crappy judge of character.
"No, I did it on purpose. I hated that job."
Must ask more questions! "Why didn't you just quit, then? Was it unemployment; you wanted to get fired do you could get the unemployment?"
(OH! So you're a JACKASS. I see now.) "So ... hmmm ... so you were frustrated with your job, and you decided to take out your hostilities on some unsuspecting woman."
"So. Anyway. I had a question about this software."
"No, really, I'm just trying to understand."
"So, does this software integrate with the database?"
At the end of that day I share this story with Hot Mom and find she has already been harassed. On. Day. Two.
Discussion Questions: Does loose talk around the office (witty though it may be) render void your right to be offended by loose talk? Or, should a sensible person simply wait a few weeks before responding in kind? Or would New Guy still be creepy if we'd known him for months? Discuss.
Hi - new reader here, chiming in for the first time...
It's tough being the new person and knowing when it's appropriate to start joining the office banter, especially when it tends toward the racy - even if that's totally your scene. Still, I think a couple of weeks of absorbing the culture and the personalities/relationships of your coworkers is usually wise.
That being said, seems to me that New Guy's comments were the sort that only fly when the people you say them to know you well enough to know you're not actually a creep. Which isn't the case here. So, verdict is that he's a weirdo. Or socially moronic. Or both.
Posted by: Tracy27 | March 12, 2007 at 01:15 PM
Hi, Tracy27! Stay tuned to indeed see if he is
1) Freaking weird
2) Just trying to fit in
3) Socially Moronic
4) a Weirdo
Posted by: TheQueen | March 12, 2007 at 02:32 PM
I just had Sexual Harrassment training last week!
New Guy is definitely starting off on the wrong foot, no matter what the culture. Also, your Co-Worker's awareness of, or even participation in, a culture of questionable taste does NOT void her right to be free of harassment herself - because, as Tracy27 pointed out, there are a lot of circumstances wherein HYC's remarks may be acceptable, and NG's still not. And even if CW wasn't offended, NG would still be in the wrong, because even if your CW had evidenced that she was cool with that kind of creepy remark...there could have been a third party within earshot who was creeped out by it.
Do you think the Executive Caution had to do with HR knowing, not that NG was conservative, but rather that he was inclined to take liberties if he thought the door were open to do so?
So here's the ticklish part - even if nothing comes of it, your company's official line is probably that you should report it to HR. Conversation is okay, but e-mail is ideal because it is then date-stamped. That's how they cover their behinds. And how you cover yours. (The bit I find awkward is you are also supposed to report your friend HYC...) How - or whether - your company "deals with it" is out of your hands.
Posted by: TasterSpoon | March 12, 2007 at 04:03 PM
T - The Excutives cautioned us because they know how we are (indelicate) and because he was fifty. They guessed we might offend him.
Posted by: TheQueen | March 12, 2007 at 07:20 PM
Geez, who vetted this guy?
Posted by: Friend #3 | March 12, 2007 at 10:47 PM
Just for the record, I did not remark upon my breasts' energy field. They are in fact quite unremarkable, which is why I was stunned that The Queen was so captivated by them. (side note- this is NOT the first time she has been bedazzeled by the "fabric of my shirt")
TasterSpoon, you mentioned something that I never even considered- that we WERE forewarned... but of what, exactly?
Posted by: HYC | March 13, 2007 at 04:30 AM
He's a creep. He's always going to be a creep. And if y'all aren't careful, he's going to ruin the wonderful atmosphere you have going.
Report his ass to HR. Now.
Posted by: Becs | March 13, 2007 at 05:18 AM
Personally, I don't care if he was offended by the boob-exchange or not. The creep all but invited me to do him on the floor of the cube.
And, Queen, it wasn't snake eyes, it was "the look." I'm a mom, I can do "the look."
Posted by: Hot Mom | March 13, 2007 at 08:57 AM
Okay - having been introduced to this by involved/interested parties; but given only information stating that something was coming down I believe that I can be impartial (so far).
1. While the comments by HYC may be construed by a new person as "brazen" they are eveidently also acceptedable under the culture of the office environment. Personally I would not have been offended but happy to have landed in a place where such humor exists. Though I would have worked hard not to stare at the objects in questions because that would be a bad "first day on job move".
2. If the New guy had issues with the conduct/references/subject matter he should have announced right then.
3. Given his next day's behavior... well the word should have hit the street that sleeze had been introduced and all should be aware.
4. Based on the "French Connection" comment alone he should have been reported.
Okay - easy for me, an outsider, to comment like an Arm Chair Quarterback (shoosh HYC); but I also understand that this is a new person and you reserve judgement and make allowances.
By the way I'm on the edge of my sit to read the rest.
Posted by: GG | March 15, 2007 at 09:44 AM
Internet, allow me to introduce GG: a new character at work. Replacement for New Guy? New Guy Jr.? Hot Young New Guy? New Guy Who Better Not Dare Even Suggest He Has Read Other Parts of This Blog? Time will tell.
Posted by: TheQueen | March 15, 2007 at 10:28 AM