Saturday, October 13, 2007

One reason work's no fun anymore, anywhere

It used to be said that 50% of those who met their better half did so at school and work. I'm not so sure it's even half of that anymore, maybe even less. And perhaps the reason for that is that times and things are so different.

I'm not saying we go back to the way things used to be. For the most part, I think feminism is a good thing. But in the fight to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace -- which we must of course do -- we've also put a crimp in the kinds of relationships we have at work. Many companies in the States forbid co-workers from dating each other. I have it on fairly good authority such a clause would be completely unenforceable in Canada both at common law as well as the civil law in Québec. But the line between fraternization and discrimination is getting all the more blurry.

In the process, there's a chill in the world of work. It's gotten to the point where asking for a date -- even among co-workers at the same level of authority -- could possibly lead to accusations one actually has an ulterior motive and a sinister one at that.

I don't think there's a lot of clarity on the issue ... and I wish someone would say in no uncertain terms what those rules are. I have no issue with reporting a conflict of interest to the HR department if, for example, an underling were to date someone in management whether or not one directly reports to the other. But there seem to be none in situations where it's colleagues at the same level do.

It's patently stupid to suggest one is not allowed to seek out Mr. or Ms Right among one's friends -- when one knows for sure he or she is there -- because someone else says the former can't.

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