Sharon was in a quandary. She only had a few days to decide whether to accept a new job that was close to home, came with a high salary and offered interesting work. It did have one confusing complication attached.
Sharon was 45, married with two children both attending college. Her husband had contracted a debilitating disease and was now virtually bed-bound. There was limited hope for a full recovery and it had thrown their world into turmoil. Sharon had returned to the work force several years prior as her children became more independent. She had done it simply to feel useful and needed. But since David’s health had declined, she was working to sustain their lifestyle and to provide funds to help her kids finish university.
Up until recently she had endured a 90-minute commute to work in the city. There were not enough hours in a day to deal with all the pressures of home and work. She sought a job closer to home, and had found the ‘almost perfect’ fit.
A very successful consulting engineer operated his business from an office adjoined to his upscale home. He travelled often and needed a competent assistant to support his efforts. Sharon was quite capable of the multi-tasking required given her experience with a larger firm in the same field.
Mike, her prospective new boss, offered her the job after several interviews. The offer came with a high salary and a flexible schedule doing work that she enjoyed.
Mike paused, “Are there any other issues? I have checked your excellent references, I like your confidence, and your appearance.” This last stated with a soft smile and quick glance at her boobs. “I believe that you are what I need here and hope that you will consider coming to work with me.”
Sharon replied, “Oh yes, this seems just right for me but I would like a day to discuss it with my husband.”
Mike seemed to gird himself for his next comment. He looked directly into Sharon’s eyes and said, “There is one more thing. I don’t know how to say this any other way than straight out. At some point I will almost certainly try to fuck you.”
Sharon’s head jerked backwards, her eyes blazed, “Say what? What kind of condition is that? There is no way, I’m not a hooker.” She gathered herself and stood up and began to turn away from him.
Mike exclaimed, “Wait Sharon, let me explain. This is not a condition of employment; it is simply a statement that I will at some point make a move on you. You would be quite free to refuse of course and without prejudice for your job. I thought better to warn you ahead of time than to have you become upset and quit when I make the attempt, and I know that I will.”
Sharon was not a prude and had received similar advances in the past. But most had occurred in social circumstances such as at parties or dances. She was a flirt and a tease and had on occasion inadvertently encouraged a friend or acquaintance to become aggressive.
She remained uncertain but mollified by his explanation. Flustered she replied, “I still want to think about it. Can you give me a day or so to consider it? Everything else seems right, but I am not sure that I can come to work each day wondering if this will be the day.”
Mike extended his hand, “Take a week to decide if you wish. Let me know by Friday next.”
Sharon ran through the issues for the hundredth time. She could walk to work or take a short bus-ride in poor weather. There would be days while Mike was away that she could stay home utilizing ‘call forwarding’ from the office. Her life would be much better. She could not decide whether she did not trust herself or whether she was just angry at the manner in which he had stated his warning.