THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Travel briefing: Here's the meeting you should miss
When I was younger and traveled more for business, I got hit on by just about every man I traveled with. This is not uncommon. Of course, most times it's not that bad.
Please don't write me about how this is sex harassment and can go bad and whatever. I know. But let's be real, men hit on their travel partners all the time. I was recently in New York City. Each day, I looked good for meetings, and I had a swanky hotel room and an expense account.
Now I can see why affairs happen so often on business trips. If you're single, a business trip is just an extension of your single life, and if you don't sleep with random guys in real life, it's unappealing to do it on a business trip.
But if you're married with children, a business trip is like an escape to Disney Land. There are no kids to feed and bathe. There's no husband for annoying talks. There's only freedom and fun. And what does anyone want to do with freedom and fun except have sex?
I wish I could tell you that I'm too busy with my great career and big ideas to think about a little one-night stand. But I was consumed with the idea.
A lot of people send me emails about issues related to marriage because people with a career and young kids don't really have time for the marriage. Here's some advice: It's very hard to do kids, career and marriage, and often the easiest thing to let go is the marriage.
I know: The best thing to do to save the marriage is date night. But the thing about date night is that the best time to do it is on a business trip... when there are only inappropriate dates.
Instead of acting on my fantasies and destroying my marriage, I did what all good journalists do: buried myself in data gathering.
This cheating issue is widespread: 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women have an affair during marriage. And these are not long-term events. Ten percent don't even last 24 hours. This screams business trip.
The Des Moines Register reported that 32 percent of people feel like they're married to their co-workers, and in fact, people do better work when they have this sort of relationship with a co-worker. So it's not that big a leap to cross the great divide and suggest a rendez-vous while you're in a grand hotel.
Oprah's in-house therapist has addressed this situation— where you feel very close to someone you work with all the time. And, in a shocking turn of events, she recommends that you don't act on it. (For you pragmatists, the increase in workplace performance you get from feeling very close to a co-worker dissolves when you start swapping spit.)
Of course, people ignore this advice in droves, and 40 percent of workers actually have an on-going relationship with someone at work.
Based on my research, I declare it's normal to think about having a one-night stand with a co-worker, and it's normal for your mind to travel to fantasy land on a business trip. I used to think it wasn't. But it is. I think if we all admit this, we can all get good at having the feelings and not considering the option of acting on them– which would not only help save marriages but also help stop sex harassment at work.