Equality Ruining Everything


Oh no! My education has turned me into a stick-up-the-ass killjoy in the workplace.

I reserve the right to be inappropriate in my own spare time, and I admit that I don’t censor my at-work language to a level appropriate for daytime television. But as a Certified Human Resource Professional (how the hell did that happen?) I’m quite aware of the consequences of not drawing a clear line in a workplace culture, and I’m also aware of where the line of human decency is.

There’s a relatively new coffee machine ensemble that includes a grinder with swappable containers of different kinds of beans. There are two slots and three containers, so sometimes they need to be switched. Something’s broken and switching containers will break it even more, so somebody put up a note “DO NOT PULL OUT”. Then somebody put a post-it on top of that, “That’s what she said.” Hey, it’s casual Friday. Is there really a difference between sex jokes and blue jeans?

There are people here with senses of humour that cross into the not-appropriate-for-work territory quite clearly, and I hear jocular conversations (shit, did I really just use the word “jocular”?) frequently between them. They’re not serious and they’re between people with compatibly thick skin. However, the other day (I wasn’t there, but the stories were vivid enough) when the conversation got into odd types of men’s underwear, somehow it progressed into a man bending a woman over and mimicking spanking. The woman doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it. It’s just who the guy is, they say, and the woman was just shocked because it came almost out of nowhere. She’s not going to make a complaint.

I try not to write anything about work for obvious reasons. I can handle a lot of inappropriate jokes and conversation. But I also know the slippery slope of tolerating escalating behaviour like this. I’m not a serious person, but if you bend me over in the lunch room while talking about tight men’s underwear, you are going to hear from HR.


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