There are some things about work that are difficult for even me to write about. These are the issues that I have not quite worked out for myself. I wonder if I am normal in these areas? Maybe no one is talking about them, but they are thinking still. And if no one else is thinking about this stuff, why do I think about it?
One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge. So to those people, I hope this blog gives you a sense of fitting in.
And, here are three workplace issues that I wonder if you think about as much as I do.
1. Having a huge crush on your boss.
Seriously, I have never worked for a guy for more than three months without developing a huge crush. This is, in part, because I have been fired so often that any guy I did not last three months with probably fired me and probably had no synergy with me.
But the bosses I did well with, I developed mad crushes on. All of them. Of course, I have worked always for good-looking men. (But, statistically, most of us have good-looking bosses.) I have always grown more attracted to my boss as we did better in the business. And I have noticed that it snowballs: The better we did together the more attracted I became, and the more attracted I was, the more tuned in I was to his thinking, and that made me better at work.
I have never slept with a boss. I like to think that I would have said no. (Though I'm not sure.) But I did find, through advice and personal experience, that women who work for men who are attracted to them have a little bit of power from that attraction. But the women lose that power if they give in and sleep with the guy. This seems right. (Hopefully you will all provide great case studies in the comments.)
2. Not knowing whether a meeting is a date.
Recently I met a guy for lunch. On the weekend. He is a big name. Big enough that developers have wet dreams about meeting him in person. Big enough that one of the first things he said to me when I met him was that I can't use his name in a blog post. So I'm not telling who he is, but it's just as well, because while his email was innocuous, the farmer happened to read it and said, “This guy wants to get in your pants.”
I pointed out to the farmer that the email could have been written exactly the same way if Mr. King-of-Developers had been sending it to a guy.
The farmer didn't care. Maybe the farmer is uppity because he also sent a sort-of innocuous email to me in order to get me to come to his farm, and, presumably, date him. So maybe he would know what that kind of email looks like.
I never know. One time I thought it was a date and the guy really just wanted to know what I was like in person. He genuinely had no romantic interest in me even though he took me to a restaurant that seemed to specialize in romantic dinners.
But it's nearly impossible to tell for sure. I am a single woman, and when I get an email from a single guy who just wants to get together and meet because we both know we are both interesting, well, who knows if it is a date or not? And really, it doesn't matter. I mean, we do the same thing at a business lunch and a date: figure out if we like talking enough to talk more.
So I just usually try to ignore that I never know if something is a date or not. But I have to say that the King of Developers was cute and fun and interesting and am I the only woman in the world who has this problem? No, right? But why aren't people talking about it more?
3. Figuring out what to wear to the office at 10pm.
Since I'm at a startup, and I also work odd hours, I find myself in the office at odd hours. For example, I often leave work in the afternoon to pick up my kids, so it seems reasonable that if people want to meet with me later, after the kids are in bed, I say yes.
But I go running at night. And one thing I know about myself is that if I don't put on running clothes before 9pm, I'll never actually go running. So what do I wear to a 10pm meeting? Running clothes, of course.
I run a lot late at night, and I usually run in very dumpy clothes. After all, the only people seeing me at that hour are potential rapists. (Note to women: You are more likely to get attacked while running if you wear a pony tail. So I never do.) But if I go to work first, I feel like I need to look good in the running clothes. So, I confess to wearing Lululemon brand pants because they make my butt look so good. Well, not just my butt, but every butt in New York City. And San Francisco, and Boulder, and everywhere else where women who have enough money to prop up their butt for on-lookers do so.
But I feel a bit guilty. Of course workout clothes are not appropriate for work. But it's 10pm. And the people at work at 10pm are often about to spend the night at the office and they'll smell bad the next morning. And that's not appropriate either, but just in a different way.