(Previously on The Story of New Guy:
New Guy: "Nipple!'"
New Guy: "Thighs!'"
New Guy: "Fine tight ass!")
Provoked by the mass descent of three women on her office and rumors of inappropriate IM conversations, the Boss decides to take preemptive action the next morning and tell HR. HR will be having a little talk with New Guy, and apologies may be forthcoming. HR tells us we can't discuss this with anyone else in the office, or with each other. (I extrapolate I also cannot post it on my blog. Phooey. Hence, inappropriate bloggage about my lack of hygiene.) I don't know why HR thinks secrecy is going to help anyone but New Guy. She spends the morning getting our stories.
New Guy is unaware that he's in trouble. At the bosses birthday lunch, New Guy asks me why my IM name is 'Crown Jewels.' I think, "Yeah, why is it Crown Jewels? If I really had any balls I'd kick you in the nuts." Instead, I pretend not to hear him. What can I say? "You have made me uncomfortable by referencing the mildly off-color nuances of my IM screen name?"
He sits next to me and starts jiggling my elbow.
I bark, "Stop that now."
I take my butter knife and poke it in his face. "Stop. That. Now."
He stops. I consider suggesting everyone arm herself with a butter knife.
He walks back with Giant Behemoth Male Co-worker (G.B.M.Co-W.) He asks G.B.M.Co-W. if he reads Playboy. (Because, you know, that's casual conversation among guys. "Hi, I'm Brad." "Hi Brad, I'm Jim. Hey, Brad, you read Playboy?") He also regales G.B.M.Co-W. with a sex joke. G.B.M.Co-W. tells us he feels creeped out now, too. (Gary suggests it's the guy's age that is really creeping us out. Gary's sensitive: he's the same age as Creepy New Guy.)
I wonder how far this will go. I anticipate he and HR will have a little sit-down, then he will deliver deeply creepy and uncomfortable apologies. Or, instead, will HR bring the hammer down? And then, what about the next company that hires him? HR and I have already had an animated conversation about our legal inability to warn New Guy's next
victims company that there is something disturbing about this guy. I feel more than a little responsibility, because I was in charge of interviewing New Guy over the phone to find out his technical skills and to see: "If he's weird or anything." My Boss assures me he got past seven other interviewers, not just me.
Discussion Questions: I know the Supreme Court says it all comes down to if we feel uncomfortable. New Guy could say "I like your blouse" at this point and I think we all would feel uncomfortable, including G.B.M.Co-W. But still, I think as humans we do have to consider intent. And for a while I thought this guy just wanted to fit in, had no social skills, or no common sense. I cut him plenty of slack. But it really seems he's been hell-bent on getting fired. Why else would he be doing this?