Corporate Recreational Mating --- A Success Killer.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Monday, 24th October 2011
Let me start by saying this is not an easy subject to write about;I am sure many readers will cringe while reading it andI expect I will receive criticism and negative feedback.

However, the reality is .. Recreational Mating in the work place has been going on since organized business began. This term, Corporate Recreational Mating as used in this article does not pertain to simple "office dating" that goes on between two single adults that happen to work at the same place of business.

What I am going to discuss is the type of recreational mating that has an impact on the performance of the business itself. Most of this type of recreation takes place among members of mid to upper management and a high percentage of it is illicit. In other words, one or both of the participants are married and not to each other.

This is a situation that exists in many corporations, it's rarely reported, often ignored and in spite of the participants attempts at secrecy, it is often a well-traveled rumor, if not a proven fact.

A Baby Boomer

Before going on I should preface my remarks by admitting that I am definitely a card carrying member of the "Baby Boomers". Being more honest I have to admit that during the early years of my career, the 70's, I undoubtedly could have been classified as a male chauvinistic pig. I could have qualified as poster child for the official "Male Chauvinistic Pig" movement. However, experience has taught me a very important lesson regarding leadership and its personal relationship with employees.

The Value of Female Employees

I now have a much greater appreciation for the abilities, the intelligence, and the value of female employees. Today, I firmly believe women in the workplace are the most under-utilized asset this country has. We have made a lot of progress in the last two decades but we have a long way to go. A number of years ago I was asked to speak to a group of female business ladies called "Women of Steel." This was an organization for women working in the steel industry. Being a little intimidated, a bit scared due to my chauvinistic past, I reluctantly agreed. As a result of personal research and interviews, I decided to title my presentation "Women in the Workplace."

I felt reformed and wanted to share my understanding and compassion for the challenges facing a woman of the 90's in trying to build a career in business. During this period in time I knew it wasn't enough to be as good as their male counterpart they had to be better. I knew it wasn't good enough to be intelligent they had to be smarter than their male competition. I felt guilty about the sexist pressure they faced, the remarks, the lingering eyes and the assumptions and rumors that often came as they got promoted and began to climb the corporate ladder. In addition I discussed in detail the additional pressures they felt at home trying to manage both a career and raise a family.

Cultural Guilt

I felt guilty because I was part of that culture I discussed at one time. Too often in the 80's and 90's managers couldn't get beyond the good looks and the fact that they were dealing with a female to figure out that this person did have an intellect and really knew what she was talking about; A person that could do a lot more than answer phones and do the filing.

Casual encounters that sprout into full blown office romances are not uncommon given the amount of time we spend at work. Offices provide a safe haven and many of the necessary components for a connection, even an illicit one. Many employers fear that workplace romances cut productivity, result in office jealousies and unnecessary distractions. But, what do you do if it's the boss or other executive management personnel involved in this type of office affairs?

There's not much you can do if you want to remain employed. Executives that have affairs with married colleagues display moronic behavior. It does affect their work and no matter how secretive they think they are, they will eventually be exposed. These executives become known as players, bottom feeders with no morals, often utilizing the power of their position over female employees.

It may also be their power and initiative alone taking advantage of younger female employees that need their job desperately.

Statistics from Surveys are Concerning

"STUFF" magazine did a survey of 3000 participants that revealed 51% of respondents confessed to office affairs. Out of them, 71% slept with one to three partners other than their spouse or significant other. Sixty percent admitted to actually having sex in the office.

Other magazines have reported varying degrees of similar surveys. One well-read woman's magazine reported 53% of the males surveyed admitted to extra marital affairs while 23% of the women surveyed admitted the same. The office is the most likely place to meet someone since you spend more than 50% of your waking hours there. That statistic is mind boggling. A scary thought for the next time you attend a business meeting and look around the room, chances are that more than half but less than 75% of the mixed crowd is having or has had an extra marital affair.

This sounds like a chauvinistic sexist commentary. It probably is although it's not meant to be. The comments are not meant to give the impression that all women in the work force are having sex with their co-workers or bosses.

We must not lose sight of the fact that the majority of females work very hard in the office and are dedicated wives, keep their nose to the grind stone and are also disgusted by the minority of women & men that use their sexual prowess to advance their careers.

The Impact of Office Relationships

Public displays of bickering and arguments between individuals regardless of their rank in the hierarchy are common place in relationships. This type of public arguing heightens the sensitivity of everyone in the office to what may or may not be going on. It brings to the forefront inequities in the power structure. People resent the attention, the special treatment and the fact that she or he can get away with murder while everyone else tows the line.

Agreement between the two on any topic carries no validity. The conclusion is that they are a couple so they have no reason not to agree. Security leaks are the most risk to the company in these situations. It's amazing what everyone reveals beneath the sheets. There is no confidentiality confinement in an illicit relationship between boss and employee.

Things that often occur without the knowledge of the participants include them becoming the brunt of many office jokes and rumors. They may become cartoon characters and laughed at in the lunch room. Their e-mails, cell phones and other means of communication may one day prove to be there down fall no matter how careful they think they have been.

Women are Qualified--- Always Have Been

Florida today printed an article by Stephanie Green a Senior at Satellite high school at the time titled, "It's time for the good-old-boy network to step aside." (2003)

Stephanie stated . "It is time for the good-old-boys in politics to step aside and let a woman run this country. According to the declaration of sentiments, which was signed by men and women in Seneca, N.Y. in 1848, all men and women are created equal. So if we are all created equal, how come men still tend to be narrow-minded about women becoming President of the United States?"

Stephanie states in her article, "It is the ideal time for a woman to lead our country so for those who don't believe change is a good thing and go along with the old adage, "IF IT'S NOT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT". Think again.

Stephanie believes that is a cowardly way of thinking. Change can be good and a woman can lead the country just as well as a man. Quite an insight in 2003 for a young woman still in her teens. She and every female like her is a critical element to the future success of this country. It looks like she was right as we almost had one female candidate (Hillary Clinton) in the last presidential election and there is an outside chance that the Republicans could nominate a woman (Michelle Bachman) in the 2012 election.

Times Continue to Change

Corporate Recreational Mating may not be as prevalent today as it was in past decades. Laws have changed, sexual harassment is forbidden, women, men and companies are more informed. Human resource professionals are extremely conscious of employee rights. However, make no mistake, unfortunately it does still exist. It does impact the success of the business.

It's funny in that I met my wife Tracy at a company I was running in 1998. However, the minute I recognized that I wanted to date her, I fired her to avoid any conflict of interest. Of course I helped her get a job with another company that paid her almost twice what we were paying her.

I am not revealing that simply to look like a knight in shining armor. I learned from past mistakes. As I mentioned, I was a chauvinist pig myself years ago. I regret it.

Don't live to regret any situation that you may be aware of or involved in. Fix it now! If you are the Boss, recognize what it can do to the culture of the organization, the morale of the employees and the success of the company. If you suspect that it exists, don't ignore it, deal with it. You have an obligation to all your employees.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com

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