Fidelity and the Workplace

May 20, 2004 by
Filed under: Miscellaneous 

I’m feeling a little down today. The main reason is that I heard a few things yesterday at work about co-workers that disturbed me.

Life at work has been stressful lately with reorganizations, layoffs, and a general lack of information below the highest levels on the direction that the company is headed. That has, of course, fired up the rumor mill. Rumors of what is happening with the company, who will be (and eventually was) laid-off and such are common and have been about 50% accurate.

What is worse are the rumors about who is fooling around with who at the company. We’ve had several high-profile rumors about that lately – the most prominent (and likely true) being between an Director and a Vice-President.

I’m generally a social liberal. However, I’m also a Myers-Briggs INFP. That means that I am very flexible with people until they cross an ethical or moral line that I hold dear – and then I become very resistant and judgmental. One of those lines for me is monogamy – I strongly believe that you should remain faithful to your spouse in marriage. If you’re getting separated or divorced, then you at least owe it to your spouse (or ex) and any kids to move out of the house before you start up with someone else. I’ve always felt this way, and I’ve even extended it to feeling that you should only date one person at a time.

The people involved in the latest rumors are people that I respect (used to respect?). I’ve respected them both for how easy they are to work with, for their business judgment and for their personal attitude. However, in both of the situations covered by the rumors the people in question are married and still living with their spouses. This seems to be a clear “cheating” scenario.

What I’m wrestling with is this – Can I stay on friendly terms with someone who has crossed an ethical line in their personal life? Can I trust someone at work if their spouse can’t trust them at home (or at work, for that matter)?

Any thoughts are welcome in the comments.


3 Comments on Fidelity and the Workplace

  1. Sarah on Thu, 20th May 2004 7:12 pm
  2. Good questions, Mark.

    I think to some extent one can compartmentalize stuff. You can trust a cheating colleague to some extent in some areas, such as meeting deadlines, respecting your office/phone privacy, whatever. But you would want to reconsider the trust issue in areas of personal confidences, keeping secrets, etc. I would find it easy to continue acting friendly with such a person but I would also find myself becoming more distant personally.

    How can I say it? They become more of a friendly acquaintance and coworker, rather than a close friend and sympatico colleague. Once the line is crossed, you never quite see them the same way again, because the issue touches on basic values. Not just what kind of hamburger you prefer, but life values that affect you intimately.

    I’ll get down off my soapbox now.

  3. Sarah on Thu, 20th May 2004 7:14 pm
  4. Regarding Icerocket. I like it better than Google.

  5. Alex on Fri, 4th Jun 2004 1:55 pm
  6. I don’t like rumors, nor do I believe any of them. I’d let it go until the rumor is proven.

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