After studying Human Resources and learning about the definition of sexual harassment, I realized that I had been harassed at almost every job I have ever had! Being young, when a male supervisor made off-color jokes, I didn’t realize that it could have been considered harassment. (Heck that could happen at any age.) But harassment is really defined as unwanted attention. How does a co-worker or supervisor know it is unwanted unless they take their shot and you tell them “no.”

handshakeOf course, there are times when the “shot” is way over the line and no reasonable person should ever take that lightly. If you are ever in that position, state your position clearly. If that doesn’t work, contact your Human Resources Department.

But yesterday, for the first time since I started my own business, I had a client proposition me. This client came right out and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you if you’d be interested in a mutually satisfying engagement.” I simply told him no. His response was, “Well, I had to ask.” I wasn’t confrontational about it, wasn’t offended or defensive about it, I simple stated that I was not comfortable with his offer.  I then told him that now that he knew my position, if he asked again, he would have to find a new assistant.

Afterwards, I talked to my business coach about the situation. She suggested that I could have told the client that the reason I was not interested was because I was devoted to my husband. She suggested that sometimes when people know the reason for our actions, they may take the information better, especially when we are trying to maintain a future business relationship.

While I don’t believe I owe everyone an explanation for my decisions, I do think this suggestion would have worked better in this situation. It could have saved my client from feeling rejected.

Only time will tell if this situation will cause problems in our business relationship. From my side of the table, I feel that I stated my position and am ready to continue our business relationship.

Have you had similar situations? If so, how have you handled it? Any suggestions on how else I could have handled it?