By Cynthia Aber
It is known that rising through the ranks of any job requires patience, commitment and hard work. But for some, there is a detour – a shortcut to getting to the higher echelons of a job without having to hustle much more than just getting a little busy with your boss beneath the sheets.
But the question is, would you go that extra mile – to sleep with your boss in exchange for a job promotion – or you would rather be patient, work ever harder in the hope that your efforts will finally be recognized with an elevation?
Of course the power of temptation sometimes surpasses human’s ability to resist it, especially if what is at stake will place more and better food on your table, or will graduate you from walking to work to driving to work, and the list could go on and on.
And the work of temptation is made even easier if you have had to endure a multitude of difficulties in your life. Picture this: the landlord is breathing heavily behind your neck because of two months of unpaid rent; your younger sibling is going back to school and she just called you to remind you about the state of school fees affairs; unpaid utility (water and electricity) bills are frowning at you on the living room table; you badly need a hair-do, pedicure and manicure, and as if that’s not enough, you have to deal with the stress of that comes with working.
So one day you are reflecting on this cocktail of personal problems, then an idea instantly – as if timely – springs up in your head. ‘How about flirting with your boss . . . it sure will come with life-changing dividends’, your inner self tells you. And voila! Not a bad idea at all, you decide. Suddenly, this idea develops into a project, a project that you immediately embark on, to get a lot closer to your boss. Then a few days, or weeks along the way – depending on how sharp, efficient and determined you are – you find yourself promoted from junior staff to senior staff or better still, supervisor! That immediately gets eyebrows raising and heads turning and murmurs within the office corridor, with you and your magical promotion the subject of talk. But you pay little attention to such blabber, knowing very well the ingredients that did the trick – first, the flirting, and then sleeping with your boss many a time.
With the promotion comes higher pay, and now you won’t have to worry about your landlord any more, or the utility bills and your sister’s school fees, and on top of that, you will now be able to invest in making yourself look always attractive – with consistently pleasing your boss well at the back of your mind.
But while others will hastily spring onto such an opportunity, others will rather stay put, and perhaps invest more in prayer, until the reward of a promotion trots their way, on merit terms.
In some circumstances, like Rose’s (not real name), natural beauty comes in the middle of the employee-needs-boss triangle. Her situation was such that she made heads turn at her company. Her beauty and striking physical attributes would keep her male counterparts turning their heads every time she walked past. That office room effect inevitably rippled over to her boss, who one time boldly assured her that he would promote her only if she agreed to sleep with him. This happened one year after she had joined the company.
And so for fear of potentially losing her job in case she declined the advances and offer from her boss, she gave in. But six months down the road, she was first demoted and shortly afterwards sacked from her job. Reason: she was not qualified enough for the job. It is an experience that has left her hurting since, considering that she has failed to get another job. Worse still, she feels she is no less than a beer can – used and trashed.
Hers is an experience many young Ugandan women will easily relate to. While some will go out of their way to make the move towards their bosses, for others, it is the reverse. The latter represent a large pool of sexually harassed women in many companies and organisations. It happens everywhere. In the formal sector as well as the informal sector.
A Ugandan study whose findings were released last year, focusing on flower farms, revealed that sexual harassment had persisted amid efforts to curb the vice.
Significantly, one of the many factors blamed for the vice’s persistence was women’s poor (provocative) dress code. Another was the case of low salaries which, according to the researchers, made women vulnerable to accept small favors in exchange for sex.
Amid such pressures, one young woman in her late 20s, once stood her ground when her boss made advances towards her. He summoned her to his office, and when she stepped in, he turned the door key. Then inching towards her, he showered her with flattery about how she was the “juiciest girl” he had ever seen, and so on. He then asked for a kiss and told her to use the opportunity to “win” herself a promotion.
“I told him unless i had feelings for him, I would not do it,” she narrated.
Strangely, he did not insist.
Let down by her comments, her frustrated boss immediately ordered her out of the office, warning her never to utter a word about the incident (his advances) to anyone.
Another woman who works as a secretary at a bureau services shop shares a similar experience and she now knows better than to try to become close friends with her boss because, she says, “in most cases, they misunderstand you, thinking you want them”.
A one Mary, who works with an events company, holds the same belief. It is much better to give your boss some considerable distance, she says, although she maintains that the distance should not be such that it breeds friction and enmity.
What women say
LEFT TO RIGHT: Abalo Lotus, Julia Mahoro, Joan Apio, Martha Namubiru. PHOTOs/Cynthia Aber
I wouldn’t for any reason whether it’s for money or for a job because my body is for my husband only. It’s not the right thing to do because even if you do, that job won’t last because the body is doing the job.
I would never give myself for a job. I will be patient because if the job is meant to be mine then it will be instead of living a miserable and regretful life in the name of the job.
I cannot give out my body because he will use me and when another girl comes around – either better or not – he will use the same method he used to get you and in the end, you will get fired from work because he wants to protect his name.
It depends on the person anyway but I cannot sleep with my boss on condition of promotion because I am married with children and he might be sick.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Mwima Fazali, Okello Daniel, Moi Mohammad. PHOTOs/Cynthia Aber
I can accept if she is really serious about giving me the job.
I would rather give my boss respect rather than sleeping with her because the more you are related to your boss, the more vulnerable you are to getting fired. So you would rather keep a distance and do your job.
I cannot let that chance go just like that. Of course I would sleep with her and also go ahead and thank her for the free offer of sex and a promotion.
I can if it’s only once, because I will be losing my chance if new employees are recruited. So if I am interested in them, they won’t allow me because they would fear for their jobs well knowing that the boss would not be happy them messing with her ‘boy’.
Adyeri Molly, a counselor in Kawanda
As a result (of giving in to sex for promotion), many of those at the receiving end have contracted sexually transmitted infections through rape and forced sex, marriages have broken and victims have left their jobs, among others.
Training of workers on sexual harassment is also helping, in that some of the victims are now reporting the abuse. But others fear to be stigmatized and isolated by society if they reported that they were being targeted for sexual abuse.
You should not discuss irrelevant things with your boss unless they are work-related. This has been common especially with the youth. They are being exploited because they are ignorant.
My advice to (females) employees is that they should not sleep with any man for any reason because they are also being employed and can be sacked.
Quick tips on how to get promoted . . . without having to offer sex
- Come early for work and leave late until work is finished. Take on more responsibility on work and ask for more work when you are done with what you supposed to do.
- Always make targets every year and if you did not accomplish the targets you set previously, make sure you meet them.
- Give your boss a hand when s/he asks you to help him/her.
- Come up with new work plans and talk to your boss and see if it will work out. This will reveal your sense of responsibility within the company.
- Dress responsibly and smartly, and keep your nails short, shave, and smell good. This will makes others around you, including your boss, to respect you.
- Show care with issues concerning work and show interest in moving up in the company.