I spent the first part of my career working with unhappy women who wanted to suck the fun out of work.
This is why I hate HR.
You don’t have to be a fan of Freud to believe that everything is about sex and death. You just need to open your eyes.
When people come to work, they might be coming to work for money and prestige. They are coming to work to accomplish something and leave a legacy. Or they are coming to work to care for their children and grandchildren.
If work isn’t about sex and death, nothing is.
Everyone has the right to a harassment-free work experience. People shouldn’t be objectified and viewed as potential conquests. But sexual attraction in the workplace is normal, regular and pretty boring. Unfortunately, I was taught that every expression of attraction is a potential lawsuit waiting to happen.
But then I learned that HR ladies aren’t lawyers. And it’s probably okay to ask once.
If you are rejected, let it go.
(I really do love that Tom Brady skit.)
Death is everywhere in the workplace, too. In fact, I think death is the ultimate motivator. I understand that some people are moved by praise and recognition, but I always ask — To what end?
I think many workers assume that praise and recognition will lead to increased opportunities to earn a higher level of compensation. Tom Brady loves his job and is passionate about football, yeah? But he also fights for the best possible contract because he wants to provide for his wife and his children. And he wants to make sure they are provided for when he is gone.
In that way, we are all Tom Brady. Most of us want to earn more money to experience life — and put off thoughts of death — for as long as possible. We save for a rainy day. We save for college expenses so our children can take care of us when we get old. We save for retirement. We save so that we’re not a burden on the system as we get closer to death.
So I see sex and death everywhere. Not in a dramatic, negative way. This is the stuff of life, as the old people say. It makes work more interesting for me. And as a Human Resources lady who has worked for legacy corporations, I know that many organizations still love it when employees meet their significant others at work.
That’s true. A happy person at home — someone who lives in a safe and loving environment — is a more productive employee. Not the other way around.
(I am glad my husband asked me to lunch.)
So open your eyes. Take a look around you. Is your workplace all about sex and death?