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Dear Readers,

Here's a question I get asked all the time, when is all right for people to fool around at work? Just a couple of samples.

Dear Madrone,

Help me out here. This is what my sister's neighbor's daughter is married to a real jackhole, his idea of a supportive relationship is "You Cook, I Eat" you get the idea. He's had a couple of girlfriends on the side, but he always comes back to the wife, when it gets old. And she hasn't said boo. But now, she's working at a job with a very nice man, who has looks, money and a wife who doesn't understand him. So they are getting extremely friendly, and she is doing VERY well at job, promotions plus jewelry. In the family, people are shaking their heads, but no one is willing to say boo, as the they think the girl deserves some fun after all the husband puts her through. I'm not so sure. I mean, the boss's wife might turn out to be a homicidal maniac , or someone might have a disease they aren't talking about, or worse, there's divorces and the boss and the girl have to move somewhere far, where there is no chance they can drop over to her mother's for coffee without calling first.

So should I step in, or keep my mouth shut?

Concerned, Mapletown

And here's another-

Dear Madrone,

I am a guy. And I have eyes in my head. So I look, is that a federal offense? No. I don't have to write to you to find out the answer to that one. I can look all I want, especially if people are showing. But things at work are going cross that line. One of the girls definitely was playing footsie with me at the last sales meeting. And I didn't mind. We are scheduled to go on a road trip together, opportunities will arise, that's for sure, I'm thinking I'm going to capitalize, she's single, I have no one so that's clear. The only thing is, I'm in charge of her raises. I didn't think it would matter to me, but the thought occurred that her interest in my interest might be related. How could I know for sure?

And one more for luck

Dear Madrone,

My father's last wife was a doozy, and not my mother, that's a different letter, so he left her last year. But they are partners in a business that does really well. The money rolls in. And every once in a while, I'm pretty sure they "roll" around in it. Together. Ew, I know, it's my father I'm talking about, but what can I say? It's the truth. That's icky t think about but it isn't the problem, I can deal with them getting along REALLY well. But kicker is that since they split, after the glow wears off, they have knock down drag outs that cause everyone in the company major agita, scenes and accusations and backstabbing. If it wasn't for me, the place would go under, I just keep it all going, no matter what. But I've had enough. Should I take my father out back and slap sense into him, or should I just hit the road?

Here are my short versions to the people above

  1. STFU. Silence, that's for U.
  2. You don't need me to tell you what you already know.
  3. If you don't have anything the old man wants, you won't get anywhere.

OK, but for the rest of you, here's a handy reference chart about when it's ok to fool around at work. And here's the thing, if you actually need to look at this chart to be sure it's ok, you need to have your head examined before you proceed with the hanky panky. You won't have the excuse that you were out of your mind, and could't think straight. And BTW, it's always a bad idea, except when it isn't.

For those of you who need a clue to read the chart

Available is open to some interpretation. But for my money, if lying is involved, don't come crying to me.

Boss= Someone who has want you want at work, who can outmuscle you jobwise

Co-worker= People in the same work boat.

Agita includes any or all of the following:

  1. Vendetta
  2. Skeevy diseases
  3. Burning ears
  4. Nervous breakdowns
  5. Paternity tests
  6. Unemployment checks going to alimony
  7. Screaming fights in public restrooms

Don't get me wrong , I know these warnings are useless to wave off anyone intent on hanky panky. But those people aren't reading this anyhow.

God bless, Donna

Makes the first move

Gives the go ahead/cold shoulder

BOSS-Available BOSS-Unavailable CoWorker-Available CoWorker- Unavailable
BOSS-Available Sure, why not? Just make sure the business plan includes f.a.c.c.

(fooling around contingency clause)

Agita Think twice.

Examine work history and restraining orders on file

BOSS-Unavailable Agita Agita Agita Agita
CoWorker-Available If you have an exit strategy, and complete faith in the goodness of humankind, be my guest. Agita Let the good times roll. Agita
CoWorker-Unavailable Agita Agita Agita Agita




Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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