Workplace Relationships And Straight Man

1625 Words 7 Pages
As seen in both Straight Man by Richard Russo and Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher, office romances fizzle out. They lead to emotional vulnerability, office competition, an inability to separate home from work and unproductivity. Just as the affairs of church and state are kept separate, romance and work should be too. Workplace relationships should be forbidden so there’s never a conflict of interest.
In Straight Man, Hank struggles being faithful to his wife, as he’s often found flirting with his female co-workers. Though Hank doesn’t work with his wife, he flirts with the idea of office romances between himself and his female colleagues. Frequently imagining himself in sexual relationships with them, Hank creates an environment
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Even with dating rules, it’s hard to imagine Jay and Hank following them. If the rules of the office are not followed, what are the consequences? Will employees bother to follow the rules if they know the company is lax with its policies? Certainly, in Hank’s situation being drunk and half-naked in a hot tub with a coworker would be frowned upon. In some policies regarding office relationships, the human resources group decides if the workplace relationship is appropriate or not. If one person or group is deciding which employees can and cannot date, how does one know if they’re biased? The research on dating policies is divided with a multitude of pros and cons. From Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania an article says, “No policy will work very well if employees see it as a set of edicts aimed at punishment…The key element is having a climate of trust” (The Messy World…). However, if the policy is strict enough to threaten a transfer or even the possibility of being fired, employees will listen. Employees won’t want to risk their jobs for a fling, and spouses will be discouraged from seeking employment at the same locations. As to a climate of trust mentioned in the article, there are other ways to gain employees’ trust as a supervisor, such as seeking employee …show more content…
There’s a higher risk for females than males who engage in an office relationship. While not shown in the two satires, a woman is criticized and judged more than the man in an office relationship. Women are more likely to be the brunt of office gossip, which wastes time and leads to a hostile environment. This includes rumors of favoritism, even when one isn’t dating a superior, and is dating someone as the same pay-grade as them. In the case of one dating their superior, this may lead to rumors about dating them to get ahead in the job, and if they do receive a promotion, it will likely be seen as unfair, leading to more gossip and the exclusion of that individual. In the workplace, men reported more trust in new male employees than female employees (Horan and Chory). If a female is to engage in an office relationship she will be distrusted more than she already is, putting her at an unfair advantage. To avoid further gender bias, the best options for employees remains to stay out of office relationships entirely, and companies should enforce a similar

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