I am 26 years old and I work for a security firm. When I joined the firm, one of the managers told me that she was really impressed with my papers and she believes I am overqualified for the job.
Now, once in a while, she calls me to her office to run errands for her. I don't mind because the receiving party usually gives me tips.
What I do not like is how this woman behaves when I am in her office, like she is flirting with me.
Sometimes she greets me and holds my hand for long. I am confused and nervous. How do I put her off without losing my job?
What the readers say
It is not abnormal for a team leader to develop soft spot for a good employee. You may be reading your own feelings, which have never crossed the mind of your boss. How many times have people confused liking, or fondness, for affection?
Men will always imagine some ladies falling for them when it is their own feelings playing hide and seek with them. Be an obedient worker, always very responsible and don't read what you have not been confronted with, until you reach there. You will realise that it ceases to exist the moment you cease to notice it.
Running errands isn't a bad idea except when they affect your work, and when they are prohibited in the company's code of ethics. Have a discussion with your line manager around running errands for other managers, and let him or her guide you.
You don't want to risk your job for the sake of tips. Learn to maintain professionalism whenever you are around her, and politely decline unusual gestures or movements.
Begin letting go of these errands step by step, citing the demands of your job. Above all, guard your heart, lest it take you to what you will regret later.
Congratulations for your courage and boldness to preserve your dignity, it's not going to be easy but you must be strong and principled.
When in her office try to concentrate on the work you have been given and try to avoid being close with each other. When she asks why, just say you are comfortable that way.
Avoid romantic talk and give her the respect she deserves as your boss and less attention and, with time, she will get bored with you.
Turn down any offer to go out and give excuses that you are busy, don't allow her to give you gifts especially money, and let her know you are married even if you are not.
Crispin, you are there to earn a living, to build your experience and build your CV. I would kindly ask you to avoid any other things that did not take you there.
I say this because it is very clear that this woman wants you sexually. Period! Whether you are qualified or overqualified, it is not a go-ahead to date her.
You will not lose your job because you have rejected her sexual advances. Stand your ground and shun her immoral attitude. Remember you have potential and even if you lost your job today, you will land a better one.
You better eat the little you earn honestly than eat big and die early because of love-related complications.
Sorry for what you are going through. Try visiting her office only in the presence of a workmate to tame her. Otherwise, reduce your contact with your her as much as possible.
Also, start looking for a new job somewhere else to relieve you of the headache you are facing. Is she the owner of the security firm?
If yes, you have to look for a way to avoid her and if not, I would advise you to write or talk to the top management and solve the issue.
I hope you are not reading too much into her actions. You see, kindness has become so rare, it is possible for one to misinterpret kind gestures.
Having said that am fully aware of the subtle yet annoying moves that some cunning people especially those in authority can make on their vulnerable juniors. Taking advantage of their needs and the job scarcity.
This is clearly is a form of sexual harassment at the work place. Especialy when there is flirting. The reason she is not coming out openly is because she expects you to get the cues and take over from there. Or she could be playing safe in case your reaction is negative she will quickly say that you misunderstood her. That's how devious people can be. She will claim that she has never verbalize any of such things.
My first advice would be that you resist her inappropriate actions firmly but politely. Remain professional in your interaction with her. She is keenly observing your reaction. If you remain consistent she will get the message. Remember actions speak louder than words.
People with a hidden agenda tend to be persistent. She may decide to take her advances higher, in such a scenario do not hesitate to verbalize you disapproval. Once again firmly but respectfully because her kind tend to be punitive and vengeful. She will look for the slightest sign to use against you.
This is also where a strong Trade Union comes in. Talk to your union, I hope you are a member of one. They know how best to handle such. In addition, if your services are outsourced, you could request to be transferred to a different work station.Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology
Crispin, you just described the setting of a sexual harassment situation and it is just a matter of time before this lady makes deliberate moves towards you and this will make things extremely difficult for you.
Sexual harassment is real and rampant in many workplaces and the thing about sexual harassment is that unless it is tackled at the onset, the results are usually very uncomfortable for all the parties involved. This includes the aggressor and the victim and/or survivor.
However, to successfully tackle this institutions and individuals need clarity on the definition and threshold of what constitutes sexual harassment.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines sexual harassment as unwelcome and offensive sex-based physical, verbal or non-verbal behavior to its recipient.
For acts or habits to be classified as unwanted there has to be communication from the victim to the aggressor that such behavior is unwelcome. This does not have to be formally communicated but such communication can be sent on text message to maintain confidentiality but maintain a trace for future reference if need be.
To tame this at the onset, one needs to communicate this in a candid manner to the aggressor and explain the acts, verbal utterances or expressions that non-verbal acts cause a certain level of discomfort.
This has to be done in a polite way to ensure that you maintain good working relations with her and to ensure that this situation does not deteriorate further to sexual acts that will have more lasting consequences.
If you do this now and in confidence she will learn to respect you and this will create a good and conducive working environment. On the other hand, if this develops into a full-blown relationship then be in the know that there will be no good ending to this. Things will be fine for a while then they will deteriorate to a point that she will not want to see you anywhere near her.
There you will start seeing your exit. What is difficult about this is that it will be difficult for anyone to believe thereafter that she is then one who abused you rather they will accuse you of trying to seduce her to get work related favors. Nip this in the bud by acting now or prepare for far reaching consequences.Simon Anyona is a relationships counsellor I have a hard time parting with...