It’s been a dizzying few days for discussions around workplace relationships. Amber Harrison, former executive assistant and ex-lover of Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner lost her court battle. Two senior AFL officials resigned and apologised after “inappropriate relationships”.
Is it all a heartbreaking mess? Yes, absolutely. For many reasons, lots of people wanted to see Harrison triumph in her battle against the so-called ‘boys club’.
Today, Harrison says her case is a “wake-up call”. Indeed it is, but not for the reasons she’s suggesting.
She told the ABC’s AM program, “At some point the boys club that dominates and defines Australian business are going to wake up and realise they are no longer in control. My case is a wake-up call for them and I hope it changes things and changes culture and how individuals are treated against the system.”
Hmm. I’m not convinced about laying blame at the feet of the ‘boys club’ or chattering about ‘culture’.
These were all consenting women. They were all grown adults capable of making their own choices. That is what empowerment is all about.
All parties involved, in both Harrison’s case and the AFL, made poor decisions. But they made poor choices as individual human beings with consciences to answer to; it’s not a gender blame game.
Having a workplace affair is a risk assessment game for both parties. If you can’t handle the worst case scenario, don’t play the game.
Harrison is correct, there are many important lessons for all women to learn from this chain of events. It is, indeed, a “wake-up call” for women and men contemplating, or currently indulging in, a workplace relationship to stop in their tracks, and ask themselves the confronting questions.
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“Is anyone going to get hurt?”
“Am I really doing the right thing?”
If you’re married, you’ve made a solemn promise to another human being, it is your responsibility to honour that promise. If you have children, surely they spring to mind before your lusty loins start writhing and springing leaks.