Sexual Harassment Is Where It’s At!

Jun 4th, 2010 | By | Category: Columns

Summer brings many things: mix CDs from Eileen, chafing of over-waxed bikini zones, terribly blotchy fake tans, and fiscal year-end corporate trainings.  With such enjoyable seasonal on-goings, you may wonder how can Alison complain?  The answer: fiscal year-end corporate trainings that don’t respect the time needed to nurse waxing wounds and buff away unsightly fake tan lines.  (I take no issue with summer CD mixes.)

One of the annual training gems is the Professional Conduct Sexual Harrassment training – and no, despite the misleading title, it isn’t how to best harass the interns – you have to figure that one out on your own.  After all the time I give to this company and late nights, you’d think they’d show me more appreciation and tell me how to really make a fellow staffer more uncomfortable than I normally do with my “Hi, I’m Alison. Nice ass.” introduction.

The training, in all seriousness, is imperative to  advancing one’s career – and I am pressing hard for an upgrade to trash can emptier. They cover things like:

  • Not making uncomfortably long eye contact ( Starring contests are signs of a client pleasing listener with a deep-seeded desire for fresh blood.)
  • Not making any physical contact outside of a firm, professional handshake (But what about Victorian-era enthusiasts like myself who prefer a dainty kiss on the hand?  Surely, an era most well known for sexual repression, hand fans, and vapors couldn’t possibly be pushing me into the corporate danger zone of sexy unprofessionalism. )

Another little nugget of amazingness: brand selling.  Brand selling is basically building business for the company. Leveraging brute-force elevator speech tactics not seen outside of North Korean prison camps, staffers are drilled repeatedly in a series of situations where they must prove that they can AND WILL create work even when the company is ill-prepared to handle said tasks. Resource shortage, lack of particular talent?  Not if you can fake it mo’fos!

An example of this would be: you walk into your client office and the client says, “we need to remove the oceans and sell these brand new plastic haircomb thingies door-to-door without leveraging any new technologies or improving the product.  It would take a miracle.”  A well-trained company employee would say something amazing, something to ensure the overpriced contract reward to line the deep pockets of the corporate overlords, something along the lines of: “Well Jesus works for my company and it’s said he can turn water into wine, surely he can turn a profit on your shitty product.  So, I’ll call him up and have him take the sexual harassment training and we’ll get in on board to sell those stupid combs. Just FYI, I hear his second trip down here won’t be as love-and-peace as the last one, but in a sales environment, we need to break some balls.”

You know, lie.

Also, I can’t bring pets to the office.  Now who will train my pet kangaroo Scribbles to box between the hours of 9am and 5pm??? Even Rockey Balboa needed a trainer!  Without one, he would have just been some guy beating his meat in an industrial freezer!


Alison Burke is a writer from the Washington D.C. area, and has been a past Defenestration contributor. She enjoys cake and male models. She wishes her life was more like a Baby Bash video — save she would be the douche wearing a sideways cap as bikini-clad men grooved comedically for her viewing pleasure.

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