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Workplace relationships

Workplace relationships
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Highlights

Nitu had invited her husband’s colleague Sarita for dinner. Sarita arrived with her husband and the dinner was just going good, with the conversation, limited to knowing each other’s families until suddenly it drifted towards the office affairs of Sarita and Vinay. 

Nitu had invited her husband’s colleague Sarita for dinner. Sarita arrived with her husband and the dinner was just going good, with the conversation, limited to knowing each other’s families until suddenly it drifted towards the office affairs of Sarita and Vinay.

Both of them then started talking animatedly, completely forgetting that they had their spouses with them on the table who couldn’t make head or tail of the conversation and were staring blankly. The days that followed saw a lot of suspicions, awkward moments, and uneasiness at the houses of both Vinay and Sarita.

In the professional world, we encounter people of opposite sex on daily basis. It’s improper and unprofessional to shun interaction with members of the opposite sex completely only because of their sex. At the same time, it’s improper to take advantage of office surroundings and work relationships to grow intimate with members of the opposite sex.

There is nothing wrong in sharing a friendly relationship with colleagues as long as we know where to draw the line. Whether we accept it or not, there are inherent differences between men and women and navigating these differences is essential for a young woman’s own comfort and success.

Uma was a happy housewife for many years. Recently she got job in a college as lecturer. Suddenly a whole new world opened before her. She was in awe of her colleagues. Every day she saw women who were always in makeup and men who were always impeccably dressed, full of wit and energy even after a full day of work. Unknowingly she started making comparisons between her husband and her male colleagues. This started creating tensions in their married life.

Indian working conditions are quite different when compared to those of the western world. Even though Indian women stepped out of home many decades ago, there is lack of professional approach regarding how they are treated at the workplace and also how they treat their male counterparts at work. Men believe that taking care of house and kids is precisely her duty and women believe that, they have no right to demand a helping hand from husband or complain if it is not forthcoming.

This creates a lot of stress in women. In office, they have the freedom to do their work without being interrupted, and their hard work ensure them recognition, which they seldom get at home. No wonder this helps in the evolution of office companionship into friendship, which gradually leads into a relationship. This is a dangerous zone in which they enter unknowingly and sometimes knowingly, risking their family, career and peace of mind.

Shreya was just in hurry collecting her things on Friday evening before leaving office when her team mate Aakash asked her out on a movie date on Saturday evening. ‘Good idea, I have been waiting to meet your wife since long.’ Aakash was taken aback. This was not the way he had planned this Saturday evening with Shreya and his wife!

Shreya was single but single, out of choice, not by compulsion. Being single comes with its own perks, both good and bad. She had the freedom to make her own choices, freedom to let her dreams fly high without waiting for approval from someone. But she has to be on her guard 24/7.

‘Can I drop you home, you look tired, ‘Shall I get coffee for you’, and ‘Do you want me to accompany you to the dentist.’ These are only a few examples how colleagues would like to catch her attention. The best way out of these is to say ‘no’ when you mean it.

Setting boundaries at work is just as important as setting boundaries in personal relationships. Boundaries are the guidelines we use to let people know how to treat us, what to expect from us, and ultimately what’s okay and what’s not okay.

Don’t allow your co-workers to make too personal comments or compliments; or you don’t make one either. Don’t try to dominate them with your opinions. Nor must you give them an impression that you totally trust them. Share your inconvenient interactions with your male counterparts with other women colleagues.

Your work life is a big part of your personality. You are the sum total of values that you believe and show in your work life. Be the person that you would be proud of. Love your work, enjoy every minute of it, but remember that at the end of the day, you get back home with a clear conscience and zero regrets.

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