I have been at my organization for four years in what felt like a dead-end position. But recently I have had good news and have been told by key players that they have plans for me. Thinking my job was going nowhere, about a year ago I got involved on a side project in my free time. However, now that I've gotten some attention at work, I am worried that my side project will cause problems with my career aspirations. I'm a pro-choice activist and writer and my company is in a conservative, traditional community. My question is should I wait for someone from my organization to confront me and actually say that my activism will interfere with my rise at work, or should I start scaling back this work and cleaning up my online presence? It seems unfair that I should have to worry about my personal beliefs interfering with my job performance, but I also live in reality.
Everyone should look at their online presence with an eye to its effect on their career, because when you post things you should assume that material is no longer in your control. I agree that unless there is a clear conflict between your personal activism and your job what you do on your own time should be your own business. But as you say, you recognize that being a spokesperson in the pro-choice community could unfortunately have an adverse impact on your career. And it won’t necessarily be as clear to you as someone telling you to tone things down. It might just manifest itself by your finding at work that the promised plans don’t pan out. So for now, be more circumspect with your advocacy. As you become more successful and secure you will have a better sense of what form your support of the cause might take. Maybe it will be mostly financial, or maybe you can serve on some boards. The more prominent and respected you become in your profession, the more your voice will register.
I have a friend whose husband seems like a nice guy. One of the first times I met him, he rubbed up against my breast as he was greeting me and I thought it was just one of those awkward things that happen. But since then every time I see him, he does some “inadvertent” move—whether it¹s rubbing up against my backside or somehow touching me, and I no longer think it¹s an accident. I doubt he’s doing this only to me. How can I get him to stop? I suspect he’d act like he didn’t know what I was talking about if I said something to him. I do not want to tell my friend.
—Keep Your Distance
Men like this rely on women’s politeness and embarrassment in order to brush against them without getting the brush off. I agree it’s unlikely you’re the sole object of this guy’s tricks, and I understand you don’t want to tell your friend. But if your husband got his thrills by committing frottage, surely you’d want someone to clue you in. Even if you can’t bring yourself to tell his wife, the next time you’re at a social event with the two of them, find a way to get him out of earshot (but not out of sight) of the others and say to him that if he ever touches you again you’re going to make a scene. Then walk away. Before you do this, tell your husband and some other female friends what’s been going on. That will help in case this creep decides to go on the defensive and, for example, say that you came on to him. If another woman in your group has experienced his treatment, the two of you may find that going together gives you the resolve to tell your friend what’s been happening. If she knew, she would have the chance to address this with her husband and try to get him into treatment. He probably thinks he has his method down to a science, but he may find the law gets involved if he rubs the right woman the wrong way.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Identification, Please: I’ve been offered a scholarship for Hispanic students—but it turns out I may not even be Hispanic. Does it matter?” Posted April 19, 2012.
“Daddy Dearest: My husband is wonderful, but he rages at our kids. How can I quell his anger?” Posted April 12, 2012.
“Loss and Forbidden Love: My stepdaughter hit on me after my wife’s death. What should I do?” Posted April 5, 2012.
“Not So Proud Papa: Our son is an unmotivated lunkhead. How can we light a fire under him?” Posted March 29, 2012.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“Double Helping of Hate: In a live chat, Prudie advises a mother hit by an anti-adoption remark—that's also implicitly racist.” Posted April 30, 2012.
“For No Eyes Only: In a live chat, Prudie advises the sister of an underage girl making sex tapes with her boyfriend.” Posted April 23, 2012.
“My Daughter To Be My Daughter-in-Law?: In a live chat, Dear Prudence offers advice on a surprising dating arrangement, birthmark removal, and mistresses at funerals.” Posted April 16, 2012.
“Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone: In a live chat, Dear Prudence advises a man who cheated and is so afraid his wife will leave that he stalks her every move.” Posted April 9, 2012.
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