Being a Leader is more than telling people what to do. Once you know of immoral activity, you must act.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it will not get better. It’s not.”— Dr. Seuss
I was working as a Director. My boss, one of the Vice-Presidents, was a “good old boy” of the Fortune Fifty company.
One day, I was walking past a conference room when I noticed a young woman sitting in the dark. She was a cleaning lady, and she had her head down on the table, sobbing.
I went in to find out what was wrong. When I spoke to her, she told me she had enough. She had reported a problem several times, but no one had done anything about it.
“Well, tell me,” I offered. “I’m new in the building.”
She told me that one of the Vice Presidents — not my boss — had waited for her to come to clean his office. When she came in, he had his pants unzipped and his dick in his hand. The entire time she was in there cleaning, he was rubbing himself and leering at her.
It stunned me.
I asked, “Are you certain he has his dick in his hand, and he’s doing that? And you reported this?”
She nodded. “I reported it to my supervisor and some of the other managers here. I even reported it to your HR, but no one can stop him because he only does it when I’m alone with him.”
I said, “Well, did they ever go with you?”
She nodded her head. “Yes.” They had walked around with her, but they’d made a lot of noise as they approached his office. When they went into his office, he was sitting at the desk, working. The very next time she came by herself, he was sitting there with his dick in his hand.
I was disgusted. “Well, we can do something about this,” I told her. “Tomorrow, before you go in there, come and get me.”
The next day, she came and got me. I stood out of sight while she was cleaning. When we got to his office, I asked her to stand outside. I pushed the cleaning cart into the office. Sure enough, when I walked in, he was pushed back from his desk with his legs spread wide, his pants unzipped, and his dick in his hand. When he saw me, he jumped up and quickly stuffed his dick back in his pants and zipped them up. But it was too late. I had seen it all.
He laughed. “They already know.” I assumed he thought I was powerless.
The next morning, I approached my boss, his equal, and said, “I went into his office. He had his dick in his hand, stroking it when I walked into the room.”
My boss stared at me. “What?”
I said it again. “I walked into his office. He had his dick in his hand, stroking it when I walked into the room.”
My boss was standing still, silent.
I felt my temper rise. “You didn’t hear me. I need some kind of reaction right now. I told you I walked into a room in this big, respectable company with incredibly deep pockets, and one of the Vice Presidents had his dick in his hand and was stroking it.”
My boss looked at me, and I stared back. After a moment, his attitude changed. He became excited, enraged, and angry that such a thing had happened.
We talked for a while before I asked, “What will be done about this?”
The next thing I knew, I was in an office behind a closed door with a group of people trying to tell me I had not seen a dick. This team didn’t know my history of living with prostitutes. I’m not uncomfortable talking about dicks. Still, they asked what should have been embarrassing questions: “What color was the dick?” “Was it hard or soft?” “How was he stroking it?”
I was forced to talk about this guy with his dick in his hand at work. I answered every question clearly and concisely. We never mentioned the cleaning lady or how long this horrific behavior had been going on for.
“I know what a dick looks like. I’ve been married for 20 years. He had his dick in his hand. He was stroking it, and he was staring at me.” I continued, furious. “Do you guys want me to show you how he had his dick in his hand? If you want me to demonstrate for you, I can try. I don’t know what you want me to do, but I’m not going to be at work with a man who is going to have his dick in his hand randomly. I don’t know if he’s going to have his dick in his hand the next time I walk into his office. Or if he has his dick in his hand right next to me at a meeting. What if he’s walking around with his dick in his hand right now, showing it to everybody? We must do something about this.”
I would not budge. Later that day, the company announced that the VP was unexpectedly retiring.
I had to be strong. I could not allow them to intimidate me about something so ridiculous. You can’t just display your genitalia at work. It was not right that he had been terrorizing one of the lowest-level employees in the building. He was harassing a person with no power. To make matters worse, it was ridiculous that people thought the cleaning lady was making up a story about the Vice President holding his dick. If I hadn’t been the person in the room, they would have intimidated whoever else reported him into believing their eyes were lying.
In the Marx Brothers’ film Duck Soup, Chico asks a woman, “Who are you going to believe, me or your eyes?” For a moment there, I felt like I was in the movie.
I ran away with a pimp when I was eighteen, and ever since then, I easily recognize intimidation tactics. You can’t let them trap you. You can’t let anyone beat you down. You must stand up to intimidation. When you work for a company as a manager, you are in a leadership role. When you are being paid to be a leader, you should do anything for your company, as long as it isn’t illegal or immoral. It is illegal and immoral for a man to have his dick in his hand, showing it to a powerless woman.
You can work for a company and retain your values. There was no reason not to dismiss that person. He put the company in danger of multiple criminal charges while recklessly seeking personal pleasure. I refuse to be party to illegal actions because I’m not going to jail for anyone.
The rule for handling illegal and immoral acts in a company is simple when you are in a leadership position: Once you know about it, you must do something. You must behave legally and morally.
I can be reached at https://www.tonicrowewriter.com/