I read a very interesting opinion piece in the New York Times over the weekend on sexual harassment called "She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk 'Feelings"'.
In the op piece, the author writes about a previous graduate student who had excelled in science then subsequently moved onto a company in which she wanted advice from the author regarding an email she had received from a colleague with a one-sided crush. The forwarded email she had received from her male colleague was:
“Can I share something deeply personal with you?” Within the email, he detonates what he described as a “truth bomb”: “All I know is that from the first day I talked to you, there hadn’t been a single day or hour when you weren’t on my mind.” He tells her she is “incredibly attractive” and “adorably dorky.” He reminds her, in detail, of how he has helped her professionally: “I couldn’t believe the things I was compelled to do for you.” He describes being near her as “exhilarating and frustrating at the same time” and himself as “utterly unable to get a grip” as a result. He closes by assuring her, “That’s just the way things are and you’re gonna have to deal with me until one of us leaves.”
The author of the op piece, A. Hope Jahren, a Professor at the University of Hawaii, then comments on the nature of sexual harassment, especially in STEM related fields where there are fewer women then men. However, what is most interesting about this article are the comments that it generated. Some of the selected comments ranged from directly forwarding the email to HR:
and other male commentators who thought the piece was an unfair perspective on what could be a potential workplace romance:
and still another who had met his wife under such circumstances:
and another who thought that successful women need a senior male mentor who can shield them from potential harassers:
I can't say what other women should do in a situation as this, but I can say that a woman, especially if she is attractive and intelligent, will generally tend to garner a lot of admiration from both men and women. I think what is important is that we have to understand that even in a workplace, or a STEM related field, that people aren't robots, they have feelings. Some people develop feelings, others don't. I think we should use our best judgement in these circumstances and not immediately fall into litigation mode thinking. When rejecting the advances of someone, I personally think it's important to be as kind as possible. I ask myself, how would I want to be rejected if I had a one-sided crush on someone?
If I were to have received a letter with those kinds of strong, emotional confessions, this is what I would have probably written:
Hey [Colleague] or Dear [Supervisor]:
Thank you for your email. I was really moved by your sentiments, I was never aware that you felt that way. I think you are a great guy because of [list reasons 1, 2 and 3]. Because of those reasons, I consider you as someone who is trustworthy and honorable. However, I am going to be honest here, but I'm afraid I am not interested in a romantic relationship with you. I am here to focus on my career goals, and I consider you a [friend/ colleague/ mentor]. However, I think any woman who ends up with you will be very lucky.
Colleague or Supervised Person
And if the circumstances were appropriate, I would also add: PS: I am organising a team happy hour next week. Could you help me?
Now mind you, this would be my way of handling any social awkwardness, by approaching it head on as I am not the type to ignore situations or let it fester into awkward passive-aggressiveness or heavily depend on HR to solve interpersonal relationships. I also think it's best to send out an email so the other party can avoid embarrassment after rejection that might occur in a face-to-face meeting. I also think an email response of this nature gives time to the other party to take some time to think about their rejection and save face. In addition, asking for the other's party help in regards to a light social event for the entire team might help to relieve embarrassment and pressure from the other party, so they can focus on something pleasant and not feel humiliated and outcasted.
Truth is, a lot of men have egos. So can women, but historically women have been better at navigating through situations that require emotional intelligence. This isn't to say that sexual harassment doesn't happen, and certainly there exists cases of an extreme or even questionable nature that should be dealt with accordingly. However, I think a colleague who has an one-sided crush should be given the benefit of the doubt instead of immediately jumping on the sexual harassment bandwagon.
Now imagine, instead that I were to send a very blunt email telling the colleague to "back off creepy stalker!" or forward the email to HR which would eventually get back to him. He would probably not only feel rejected, but completely humiliated, and when people are humiliated, they end up resorting to a grudge match or look for revenge. This is basic human psychology. When someone is humiliated, that person will keep an eye out for a time when he or she will get payback. This leads to competition and internal fighting. I think that is why it is always in one's best interest to reject potential suitors and admirers as kindly as possible. Being kind is not the same as being wishy-washy, passive-aggressive and lacking a backbone. You can be strong, firm and kind. Nothing bad ever happens when you take time to be kind to someone.
Onto other analyses, currently the stock market has moved out of consolidation form a week early. This could potentially have two ramifications:
1) The 161.8% fibonacci retracement level will be tested again- with the SPY potentially moving towards 210.42 in the next couple of weeks. However because the consolidation time again has been shorter, there is potential for another correction at the 202 or 204 levels, before reaching the 161.8% fibonacci retracement level at 210.41.
2) End of last week's formation showed a continuation of a bullish trend where the next significant level will be at the 161.8% fibonacci retracement level at 210.41. After this level has been reached, a stronger correction is possible due to a shorter consolidation period and pullback to 198 or towards the support line.
Also, this has been the first time since 2011 in which the S&P and gold have moved out of an inverse relationship:
Again, the gloom and doom predictions by the media a month ago seem to have been all but forgotten, but I would be careful for those hedge funds out there not to buy the top.
By Sierra Choi
[Disclaimer: This post is not intended as any legal nor stock market advice and is for educational purposes only.]