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Question

21 Dec 2004

Familiarity with Clients
Hello Everyone,

Last year, my "naiivety" led to a case of sexual harassment from a colleague at work. He is old enough to be my father, and I genuinely thought his interest in my life was purely as frienship, especially because we work together quite closely. And then the telephone calls started and he would corner me when no one was around and discuss his sexual fantasies of me with me... I didn't know how to handle the situation, so I just ignored it, and it got to the point that my father wanted to come in and talk to my manager about it. Written warnings were sent out, and the harassment stopped (although I'm still incredibly uncomfortable around the man).

Quite recently my job satisfaction reached an all time low. A couple of days later, I met one of my clients for the first time. He's just been appointed for a big project, so we'll be in close contact. He sent me an e-mail the next day saying how nice it was to meet me and that he knows that the relationship between our companies will be a good one. It made my day actually, because it was a positive affirmation for me, and the job satisfaction has started picking up since then. But now he's also started calling me, asking me about my weekends, etc. He's just sent me a Christmas e-mail (the second in 2 weeks), and right after sending it, he phoned me to ask about my Christmas plans as well.

Now as you can imagine, I'm a little weary about this because of what happened last year. And he's by far more familiar with me than any of my other clients. Am I over reacting a little or is my caution warranted?
Answer 451 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Maybe you're right to be wary. Maybe a pleasant message saying that it was nice to meet him, and you look forward to working with him on the project, and that indeed this project is improving your enjoyment of your job, but you have made it an absolute rule to never mix office and personal lives. Tnank him for his interest, and wish him a Merry Christmas and New year for him and his family. Be tactful and professional.
And maybe , too, as BB suggests, have a word with the manager who dealt with the previous situation, just to mention this in exactly the terms you described here.
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