I work for a commercial real estate company in a primarily male dominated environment. I have been put on a project where I am the sole decision maker and work as the liaison between architects, lawyers, designers, etc. As a women in this field, I often times feel a power struggle, but consider myself quite head strong and dedicated to my work.
Two days ago, after returning home from a series of meetings, I received an e-mail from a new client who was a personal referral from my boss, asking me on a dinner date. I was astonished as he had no qualms about crossing the client relationship line. Not only am I utterly not interested, his advance was completely unprofessional and he didn't want to take no for an answer.
The next day, I responded to his e-mail declining dinner but suggested we make plans for a working lunch as I didn't want to make an awkward situation worse. After receiving my message, he followed up with a voicemail apologizing for his out of line request. As if that wasn't enough, he carried on telling me that I was an attractive, intelligent woman and he would be a fool not to ask me out, followed up by another e-mail!
I will be in contact with this person for the duration of our project. Do you think it is unreasonable to tell my boss about our interaction and ask to be removed from the project? I don't want to jeopardize my career, but am extremely turned off by this man's constant inappropriate attention. Harassed Heidi
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Dear Harassed Heidi
Well, this call is totally up to you. I am sure your boss would never want you to be in a vulnerable position at work, but make sure you don't jump the gun and make a rash decision that could jeopardize your career. With that said, I think you handled the situation perfectly and made your point very clear. The only problem here is that he just doesn't want to take no for an answer!
Do you think once his embarrassment of being turned down wears off you could put this situation behind you and be able to develop a working relationship? If so, I would give it a little time for the dust to settle, but if you truly feel uncomfortable and think this guy's attraction for you will disrupt the work at hand, by all means voice your concern. Being a woman should not deter you from standing up for yourself so keep strong and keep up the good work.