Another new year, another outrage in the office. I have held back from documenting every bit of ridiculousness I have witnessed over the course of the past six months, but today beckoned for an entry. Raptor swings by the aisle toward the end of the day to announce our reward of getting out a couple of hours early before the long Memorial Day weekend.

One of my female coworkers is stretching and makes a complaint about her back. Raptor jumps right in and informs her that 10 years ago he would have given her a massage, but these days HR will not let him touch her even with a pinky. The awkwardness level is off the charts at this point and I could not bring myself to look in their direction.

A few days later I brought this incident up to this unwitting Russian woman and she explained it away by claiming that it is “European thing.” Thanks, sweetheart, for setting me straight on what is and isn’t European seeing that I only lived in Europe for 12 years of my life.

I said to her, “No, it is not. It is him.” Being inappropriate, creepy, and abusing one’s authority is not a European thing, whatever European is anyway. And what does a Russian from a predominantly Muslim former-Soviet country know about Europe anyway?

Raptor is from a specific region of one European country, so is it a regional or national “thing?” Maybe it’s just an a**hole “thing?” My father grew up in Europe and I was born there, but it would never occur to either one of us to ever say something like that to a woman at work.

Generalizing about Europe―a cultural continent made up of over 50 different countries―is about as useful as saying that people in the Americas (from Canada down to Argentina) act this way or that; utterly useless.


This is a post in a series based on my time working at a Fortune 500 company. These posts are taken directly from a journal I decided to keep after witnessing numerous unbelievable and ridiculous incidents. All names have been changed to protect the privacy of the innocent―as well as the guilty. The head of my department is referred to as ‘Raptor,’ which was the nickname given to him by one of my coworkers. Last I checked, Raptor was still employed in the same role at this company.

One Reply to “A Day in the Life of a Corporate Desk Jockey: Episode 13”

  1. Interesting how growing up in different countries and on different continents may affect ones’s views on social norms especially at work. However, I strongly believe most of us from Europe and the Americas can (and should be able to) differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate interactions be it at work or in private life. IS