Getting Stuck

Posted April 3rd, 2014 by Duken

I started a new job and was assigned to work on a project with this senior staff member. We meet on a regular basis to discuss analytic strategies, writing responsibilities, etc. During the first two years, there were infrequent inappropriate remarks (general sexual remarks) and more frequent remarks on my appearance. I watched his behavior and listened to his language, but didn’t confront him directly about it. One day, he asked me if I would consider meeting him up at the spa for a spa treatment or lunch. I said no.

A few days later, I told my supervisor about his proposal. She was very supportive and asked me how I wanted to manage the situation. I made it clear that I was not interested in him and that I was going to try to continue to work with him. I believed that he would not pursue me in that way again once I had a frank discussion with him. My boss offered to talk to his boss on my behalf, if I thought that would help. I decided to use that as a last resort in the case that I could not stop his overtures.

I told him that his invitation and comments on my appearance made me uncomfortable. He apologized and then seemed to retaliate by refusing to finish the project, knowing that publishing the project’s findings would help my application to graduate school. Specifically, over the next nine months, he continued to try to make our time together personal rather than professional by have meetings at a café instead of in his office. In between meetings, he rarely completed the work that he had agreed to complete. He essentially refused to finish the report. I felt professionally and personally trapped until he left the company because I could not move forward with the project without his input.

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