(Previously on The Story of New Guy:
New Guy: "Nice Shoes. Do you know what that means?"
New Guy: "Oh, I got walked out of my last job for sexual harassment.")
New guy again starts the day with "Nice shoes." In addition, he tells our co-worker, Hot Mom, that the buttons on the back of her pants are really cute. I hear these stories and think, "Am I just being influenced because he shared with me that he'd been fired for harassment? And, what the hell was he thinking, sharing that with me?"
New guy begins relying a little too heavily on baby talk. He also whines that some of the work is too hard. New Guy is working my last nerve. New guy has figured out I am not his best friend. This may have been when I barked at him, "Look at me! I am talking to you. Make eye contact!" and pointed to my eyes.
However, my ballsiness pales in comparison to that of Hot Young Co-worker. H.Y.C. has not been harassed yet by New Guy. Ironically, she instead embarrasses another male co-worker for staring at her boobs. He is so embarrassed that New Guy feels for him. Staring Man had previously held the unspoken office title of "Creepy Guy." New Guy has usurped him.
I wasn't there. No idea what he was up to.
Discussion Questions: Are we obligated to confront creepy guys? Does this ever work? The Artist Formerly Known as Staring Man was quite shaken and surprised by his reputation, once it was revealed to him. Also: Could New Guy just be trying to fit in with the frank talk? Have we given him permission?
Could it be that the general temperature in your office is too high, and he, having sampled the air, is just trying to fit in? Perhaps y'all need to lower the thermostat generally. Like a "sexual harassment sensitivity reeducation" meeting.
Posted by: ~~Silk | March 13, 2007 at 11:31 AM
I HATE New Guy. He has generated zero goodwill for himself, and he's already trying to spend it. To give him a little credit, though, maybe he thought that, the atmosphere being what it was, revealing his Sexual Harassment history would give him a little street cred.
I think it's funny that Staring Man didn't know his reputation - but endearing that he was bothered by it.
If New Guy is just annoying people, but nobody's actually afraid of him, maybe you or someone could give him the benefit of the doubt, chalk up his poor judgment to not knowing the rules around here, and spell things out for him - what's cool and what isn't. And also? GIMME BACK MY CAMERA!!
Posted by: TasterSpoon | March 13, 2007 at 12:51 PM
I think you are obligated to spell it out for him. It's obvious to you that he's creepy, but he may not know it. Yeah, he knows he was fired for sexual harassment, but he might not understand exactly what it was that he did wrong.
However, baby talk requires a smackdown.
Posted by: Rena | March 13, 2007 at 02:29 PM
~Silk - admittedly, it is a rowdy atmosphere. This is why I quizzed my rowdy male colleagues: "Why is it that when you say something like 'Nice shoes' it's okay, but when he does it's creepy? You even wiggle your eyebrows."
Taster - Yes, this is what I AM SAYING. I keep thinking my camera will be mailed to me with a movie of him in big diapers.
Rena - Really, I felt baby talk was his worst offense. That's what HR should be doing training on. "Baby Talk in the Workplace: Your Rights."
Posted by: TheQueen | March 13, 2007 at 10:00 PM
Q: Are we obligated to confront creepy guys?
A: Obligated? I think the measure is if you are truly uncomfortable. Then you should feel obligated to yourself to do something to address the issue.
Q: Does this ever work? The Artist Formerly Known as Staring Man was quite shaken and surprised by his reputation, once it was revealed to him.
A: I think you answered the question. Some people are just not conscious of what they do and when brought to thier attention can cause a change in thier behavior. AFKASM was evidently not aware and, albeit embarrased, glad to have it pointed out.
Q: Also: Could New Guy just be trying to fit in with the frank talk? Have we given him permission?
A: I'm of two minds on this one: 1) Most people can sense the difference betwix humor in the workplace and hostility. So the initial anatomical reference by HYC could be construed as "permission" it would only be permissive in the appropriate context of the humor. 2) Nature vs. Nurture - in that the envirnment had been presented that it is acceptable behavior and he just doesn't understand the culture enough to know the appropriate boundaries of such comments.
Based on the reporting so far though (and evident commentary by parties that seem to have been there) this guy is a creep and should be sat down and talked to about his behavior.
Posted by: GG | March 15, 2007 at 10:06 AM