This week, I try to help a young agency executive navigate the treacherous waters of office romance and learn an important lesson of how best to use sex for her career advancement.
I’ve worked for a high-end New York design studio for the past four years. About two years ago, I started sleeping with my boss, who was the senior creative director at the firm. He was always really cool about it and we were both discrete. Even though he bought me a number of nice gifts, he never followed through on the big raise he was always promising. Last week, he got fired for something completely unrelated to our affair. So far, he hasn’t returned any of my calls and I’m not sure if he put in my raise paperwork before he left. Is it wrong to ask HR about the raise he promised me?
Jenni in Manhattan
Dear Jenni in Manhattan
First of all, I commend you for using sex as a means of furthering your career. However, you must be chastised for the careless manner in which you failed to secure your raise. Now, you are forced to sully your hands roughing up some HR hack with no life of his own, who lives vicariously through the hip, trampy and exciting lives of cool employees like you. Alas, it’s a dirty job, but one you must now undertake because of the amateurish way you handled this entire affair.
So, first thing tomorrow morning, put on your nicest, sexiest business suit and barge in without appointment to the highest ranking male HR buffoon at the agency. Tell him you’re inquiring about the raise your old boss Vincenzo (or whatever poser pseudo-artist name he went by) assured you he sent to HR for approval. Make sure to remind Mr. Sniveling HR Weasel that your boss often praised your passionate devotion to the agency while he was pummeling you mercilessly from behind, bent over the CEO’s stunning Parnian “Power Desk.”
Also remind Mr. Useless HR Cheap Suit that while routinely ravaging your backside while the CEO was away on business, your recently fired boss often shared with you the amusing sketch pad the CEO keeps under the old NY 411 in his bottom credenza drawer, a sketch pad filled with doodles of Marge in AP going down on every summer intern from the last 5 years. This would also be a good time to remind him of all the pics you have of your boss forcing himself onto you, into you and all over you, acts that you endured for fear of losing your job. Then tell him your first cousin is an attorney with an eye patch who has a grudge against the entire world.
Next, take a pen and write “$175K + full benes” on his blotter, smile, tell him you’d like the first two of the six month’s retroactive raise as a cash payment placed neatly on the desk in your new office by the time you get back from lunch. Then smile again, stand up and leave.
While you treat yourself to a fine lunch at Per Se, savor a valuable lesson learned and make sure you implement going forward a much more disciplined approach to leveraging office dalliances to your future advantage.