I have this annoying co-worker, who over the years has shared too much information about his personal life. For the most part he’s harmless, but when he starts talking about his sex life I get uncomfortable.
Early on when he began working for our company, he would look me up and down then ask me my dress size, overly compliment my wardrobe then tell me stories about how his wife wouldn’t have sex with him. One day when he started telling me about a dream he’d had about me the night before I lost it. I cut him off mid-sentence, rudely told him I didn’t want to hear about his dream, that I didn’t want him to ask me my dress size anymore and to stop talking to me about his sex life. I also told him some women would consider these actions sexual harassment. Looking back, his dream may not have been sexual, but at the time I didn’t want to risk hearing about it.
My co-worker didn’t talk to me again for almost a year which didn’t bother me a bit. Then slowly he began initiating conversation and before I knew it he was back to talking about sex again. Recently he’s added sexual jokes and comments about other employee’s sex lives to his topics of conversation.
At a recent going away party this employee made a joke about our President’s sex life in front of everyone including our President’s 70-year old father and our human resource manager. No one acknowledged the joke or laughed. Instead, someone quickly changed the subject.
It baffles me that no one sits this employee down and tells him to knock it off. Not only does he talk about sex with me, but when he thinks he has a funny story or joke he walks around the office sharing it with everyone.
Friday morning he was at it again, making the rounds telling his latest joke about our President’s sex life when I decided I’d had enough. I turned to him and said, “Fred, this isn’t appropriate conversation for the workplace.” He looked at me and repeated my comment, “This isn’t appropriate conversation for the workplace?” I think he got my message, but I’m sure he will be back at it in a few weeks. I’ve decided from now on every time I hear him talking about sex I’m going to repeat my previous comment or tell him he is being unprofessional.
And for those of you who talk about sex at work:
Doing so diminishes your credibility. This goes for women too:
There is this story about one of our female employees who traveled with a male co-worker to an out of state conference many years ago. According to the male co-worker, she talked about her favorite sexual positions the entire length of the trip. To this day, when this female employee’s name comes up for promotion her male co-worker who is now a VP shares this story along with his opinion this employee is not professional.
Not everyone will find your joke funny:
Not everyone has the same sense of humor. When you joke or talk about sex you always run the risk of offending someone. Plus, someone who laughed at your jokes last week may for no obvious reason find them offensive or not funny this week. I once worked with a guy who liked to tell a couple of his female co-workers he’d like to see their lips around a Pepsi bottle or a banana. Sure enough, he made this comment to a new temporary employee and she reported him to HR for sexual harassment.
You are a disruption:
Your jokes and stories are unproductive and disruptive. They stop work- flow and provide fodder for employee gossip. See next topic:
You are drawing unwanted attention to your appearance:
When talking about your sex life you may be providing a visual image to your co-workers they do not want to see. Let’s face it you may not actually be a “ten” and your co-workers may find these visual images repulsive.
Do your career a favor and remember conversations about sex are not appropriate for the workplace.
Have you had a co-worker who talked about sex in the workplace? How did you handle it?
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