No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings. In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way? – Bloomberg, 12/3/18
Hiring competent people, regardless of their gender, is an important aspect of any manager’s job, but in today’s post #MeToo world, men in positions of power need to take certain precautions when they decide to allow a female into an office environment. No doubt she’s going to wreak some havoc simply by having breasts and walking around, so it’s important to prepare your male employees by requesting they review these guidelines and procedures should they have to interface with her.
If you see the female employee walking towards you, whether she waves, smiles or asks about your weekend, do not engage. While it may seem innocent, it is likely a trap designed to get you to let your guard down so the minute you compliment her presentation skills or her hairstyle, she can nail you for inappropriate conduct. Best to avert your eyes, quicken your pace and avoid any polite hallway chit chat beyond a curt “hello,” which, honestly, is pushing the envelope, so maybe just keep walking.
If there’s no way to prevent the female employee from infiltrating a company meeting, and she’s unwilling to dial in, make sure she’s seated at least 10 feet away from your or another male employee in order to prevent any inadvertent foot or arm touching. In the unfortunate event that she’s tasked with leading a presentation, look anywhere but at her, because lingering attentiveness might be misconstrued as languishing. If this becomes too difficult, HR provides disposable blinders upon request.
Should you see the female employee alone in an elevator when you too need to take it, wait for the next elevator. Despite the fact that there are cameras in there, the female employee’s word will always be taken over video evidence, so best not to chance it. If by some unlucky stroke of fate you accidentally jump in an elevator without realizing she’s also in there (remember, they’re crafty), there really is only one course of action: Crouch down into a ball on the floor and rock yourself back and forth while quietly weeping and whispering “I’m sorry.” She’ll most likely realize you’re not worth the trouble, and leave you alone.
This is perhaps the most dangerous of places to interact with the female employee due to the large quantities of alcohol, mood lighting and festive attire. If there’s no way to avoid the gathering or bring your wife as a ubiquitous female barrier, your best option is to drink to the point of alcohol poisoning, and throw up on yourself and/or the female employee so neither she nor you will find the other remotely attractive.
Traveling together for work conferences
Work travel with a female employee is fraught with potential peril. If begging your manager to “let the bitch handle it on her own” doesn’t work, you must create a complex plan of avoidance. Drive however many hours it takes to get there instead of booking the same flight. If she asks why, make up a relative who perished on a plane, thus giving you a lifelong fear of flying. If she asks to join you, tell her you get car sick driving with more than one person.
Oh, and if any of this travel planning isn’t taking place via one-sentence emails, you might as well just fuck now and call your lawyer.
Book a hotel room across town so that any late night bar or hallway run-ins will be relatively impossible. If she invites you to have dinner with her for a “post-conference review,” scream “I’M MARRIED!” in her face, and run as fast as you can in the other direction.
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Ally Hirschlag is a writer from Brooklyn who lives with mild anxiety over what her cats are doing in the other room. You can find her work at Mic, Upworthy, Teen Vogue, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @allyhirschlag.