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John’s workplace rules.

November 21, 2017

As each hour seems to bring another revelation about perverts and sexual predation in the workplace, there are people who still remember a different culture.

John, a long-retired businessman, passed on last year, but before he died, he gave these rules for workforce management to his grandson. Since John retired in 1987, some of these rules may seem strange now, but in over thirty years in business, there was never even a hint of scandal connected to him or his business.

  1. Never be alone with a member of the opposite sex. If you must meet with a woman in the normal course of doing business, have another employee present, do it in the open office, or make sure all doors are open at all times.
  2. Have a dress, speech and comportment code. I required business formal dress for all employees, and that included skirts at the knee or below. Suggestive jokes or vulgar speech were a firing offense after one warning.
  3. I hired people, especially women, at least 20 years older than myself, and I preferred that they were married. I didn’t like employees to date each other. If that happened, one of the two had to choose to leave my employment.
  4. Employees of both sexes were expected to keep their hands to themselves.
  5. Being attractive was not a hiring requirement for either gender. (John joked that his peers often said he only hired the “old and ugly.”)

Asked if he would consider himself a prude, John said he didn’t think he was, but he hired people to be productive employees. He felt that for eight hours a day, they should be able to focus on his business.

In typical John fashion, he opined “I ran an accounting firm, not a dating service or whore house.”

In today’s world these rules must sound strange, and you can just hear the claims of discrimination whispering in the background.

Maybe that’s why life seemed a lot simpler then, back when rules were not made to be broken.

From → op-ed

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