I wasn’t always a rockstar in HR. I’ve made quite a few major blunders in my career. I’m going to share the stories of the ones that most impacted me this month in a series. Keep reading …
This week, I am sharing my favorite workplace romance stories in honor of Valentine’s Day.
Today, I am combining that with another series because, once upon a time, I had a Valentine’s celebration that was an epic fail.
Dude was a manager on night shift. We had nice conversation during shift change and when I worked late. Dude was handsome. So when he said he was dateless for Valentine’s Day and wanted to go out, I said OK. When you are in your early 20s and working 70 hours per week, it’s not like you have many opportunities to meet people otherwise. And I had to eat anyway so why not, right?!?
Dude picked me up with flowers and chocolates. I thanked him –but let him know that I am allergic to chocolate so I couldn’t eat it. Dude’s response was “I bet you’re not. Do you know how rare cocoa allergies are?? You were probably misdiagnosed.”
When we got to the restaurant, dude tried to order for me. And he was not happy that I wouldn’t allow him to select what I was going to eat. Dude said the reason I wasn’t comfortable with letting him take the lead was because I was too independent and career-focused.
Then dude started telling me about his 3 year plan to settle down, get married and have children. He asked about my 3 year plan — which did not include any of that stuff. Dude said it was clear I’d been hurt and didn’t trust men so I was afraid to open myself up to a traditional relationship.
I excused myself, went to the bathroom and phoned a friend. I told her to call me back in 5 minutes with some kind of emergency so I could end the date. And I went home.
I managed to avoid dude for almost two weeks. But eventually, we ran into each other. Dude wanted to go out again. I declined the invitation. I said it was because I wasn’t ready for a relationship and didn’t want to deter his 3-year plan. Dude nodded (like he knew I was going to say that), thanked me for being honest and not wasting his time.
Then dude went around telling other people at the job that I was a man-hater.
It was unbelievably immature and embarrassing. When I confronted him, dude denied saying anything — and lectured me again about being obsessed with my career and reputation. I told him that my obsessions were none of his business and threatened to report him.
And, just like that, the rumors stopped. Shocker.
But I realized that if I really was concerned about my career and reputation, I couldn’t casually date people from work … What I expected was a nice meal and fun conversation. But I had no clue or control over the other person’s dating definition or parameters. I expected respect and discretion after. But I had no clue or control over what the other person would share or disclose after the date was over. I expected there to be no hard feelings if it didn’t lead to something more. But I had no clue or control just how awkward and uncomfortable things would become when/if I was no longer interested in the other person … And being clueless or out of control in the workplace never leads to anything good.
This year, I celebrated Valentine’s Day with an awesome dinner date. And my sweetie does not work in the same industry, profession or building as me.