Don't Stand So Close to Me

Who's my boss?  Is it the congressman or his chief of staff?  The chief of staff hired me and is in the office on a much more regular basis than the congressman.  The congressman has to give speeches on the House floor, attend committee meetings, and cast votes in both places.

When the British Embassy invited congressional staffers to a reception at the Ambassador's residence, the congressman was out of sorts that he wasn't invited.  But he gets better opportunities than a reception with a bunch of redcoats.

While at the reception, our small group of five office mates kept mostly to ourselves.  At one time the COS was standing next to me and his arm brushed against mine.  But he didn't move it!  Personal space, Dude!  Don't you know about personal space?  Apparently not.  I was the one who pulled my arm away.

After the press secretary and I had snuck away for a bit to explore the residence, we joined the legislative director, the staff assistant, and two Brits they were chatting with.  In the flow of the conversation, I glanced at the press secretary who'd just commented on something.  You know how something in the distance can catch your eye?  In my direct line of view was the COS across the room.  Looking intently in my direction.  Was he looking at me or the press secretary?

Fortunately nothing else has happened until a few days ago.  After a meeting involving me, the press secretary, and the COS, the press secretary had another meeting to run off to.  That left the COS and me to walk back to the office.  As we were leaving, the COS and a member of another congressman's staff were joking at my expense about my fall on the ice. 

Was it the way he was joking with me?  Or the way he looked at me while joking? Or the way he walked a little closer than necessary on the way back to the office?  Or am I really rusty from not working in an office for all those years?


  1. Lol, and now the fun begins. Ohhhh, this could be a great story!

  2. I'd just make sure my behaviour was waaaaaayyy beyond "prim"... just in case he's got any ideas.. People are frequently just more "relaxed" with office ettiquette now, but I don't like getting bad vibes.. protect yourself..

  3. The other day one of the young coaches walked past me and tapped me on the ass. "Well, Coach - you could at least say 'good game!'" With us, all in good fun. It's only harrassment if it bothers you. So if he's bothering you... I don't care how long you've been out of the office, you can still trust your instincts. Keep your distance; he'll get the picture. Or have your husband come by the office and "pee on his tree."

  4. I find that my gut is always right; I suspect yours is too. While some people are a great deal less conscious of touching than others, I am guessing this is not that case here. And the Congressman is the COS's boss; the COS is your boss. I hope that keeping a distance is enough - it often is. But if not - document, document, document! Time, place, who else was there - and if no one, how that came to happen (manipulated or not).

  5. Uncomfortable, to say the least. I agree; listen to your gut.

  6. He really should watch his step, nowadays harassment is just so easy to fall victim to, and he's maybe treading a thin line, you'll know. And perhaps the two good lookers a bit later, have been sent to test you. look out.lol