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Two lost lovers

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in Office Politics,Workplace Communication

Jane, a vice president at a New Jersey-based chemical company, updates us on her story from last month involving an office affair:

My colleague Sara (another VP) is still having an affair with Ralph, the president of our division. Now that the news has sunk in, I'm not as upset, but I'm more distracted by it.

Our CEO finally found out about their affair (not through me--I think that another division president broke the news). But the CEO didn't have to take action because, due to a long-planned corporate reorganization, Sara and Ralph are no longer in the same chain of command. She got transferred to another division.

It's still distracting because the other VPs--and even some of the rank-and-file employees--spend way too much time tracking Sara's whereabouts. It's like a game. Whenever we learn of Sara's "business trips," one of us checks with Ralph's assistant to find out if he's in the same place. Often, he is.

I know this sounds childish, but we're so disappointed in Sara for lying and using company money to travel for personal reasons. We talk about it constantly.

And you know what? I feel even worse because I realize we're applying a kind of double standard here. No one seems to focus on Ralph's role in this. He's higher up the totem pole, so no one questions him. But Sara is our peer and we're closer to her. She really let us down. We figure Ralph is just being Ralph, but Sara should know better!

I read about how the CEO of the American Red Cross, Mark Everson, had to resign because he had a relationship with a female subordinate. But Ralph, who like Everson is married with kids, is getting away with it.

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