O is for Obfuscate

O

ob·fus·cate
ˈäbfəˌskāt/
verb
1. render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
~ bewilder (someone).

I met Robyn while I was managing the front end of a small manufacturing company. She worked in the tech department at the other end of the building. I liked her, but she didn’t really talk a lot or try to be friends, and that’s not my forte either. My one feeble attempt at interaction was a “hey! How are you” message on Myspace, which she didn’t reply to. We may have ended this story right here if not for the meddling of outside forces.

One day I was called to the boss’s office and asked to sit down, there was a complaint. Apparently Robyn had lodged a sexual harassment complaint against me and her manager was there to follow through on it. She said that I had emailed her via her personal email address and harassed her, and the only way I could have gotten that information was via her personnel file. I was banned from speaking to her, or interacting with her, if at all possible until the matter was settled or if she decided to take legal action against me.

When it comes to sexual harassment, anyone can complain to a manager and it is then the managers responsibility to deal with, they are legally obligated to do so. If the victim doesn’t want to be involved due to the harassment itself, the manager makes the complaint in their name to protect them and save them from embarrassment.

Ironic door sign

What were they talking about? I had no idea and I was pretty sure a “hello” message via a public Myspace account was neither particularly personal nor sexual.

Unfortunately, Robyn often had to come up to my office for orders and various paperwork, and I tried to be as curt and unresponsive to her bizarre, (in the face of the accusation) awkward, friendliness. All of the sudden everything at work was awkward, and I still had no idea what the fuck was going on.

After a week or two of this fun little dance, I see a notification on Myspace, and it’s from Robyn. “Hey! I’m good, what’s up with you”, or something along those banal lines. What?! This woman is trying destroy my professional life, a life I have fought to build and is now acting like everything is hunky dory? She was obviously mentally unwell. I was not supposed to communicate with her at all, but I just couldn’t stop myself.

I may have questioned her mental stability and reasoning capabilities. I am positive that I told her that I didn’t know what was wrong with her specifically but that she needed leave me alone and stop messing with me and my life. I wanted nothing to do with her or her crazy.

She replied, despite my request. Guess what? She had no fucking clue what I was talking about, and she thought I was the crazy one.

I sent her all of the internal emails and memos on the subject to prove to her that, no, she was crazy.

Apparently we were both just, played.

We worked in a big building and there was a guy that worked for me, running errands to other departments and just helping get stuff done. He happened to be the Tech Department Managers’ husband, and Christina was (probably still is) incredibly insecure. She didn’t like that we worked so closely together, she grew suspicious, of what, I’m not sure since there was nothing but professional friendship between us. This manager was much better at playing the game of office politics, I was a mere babe in the woods in comparison.She wanted to get me fired. She used Robyn to do so and even with proof, I ended up losing that job.

Here’s the silver lining; Christina’s deliberate obfuscation and deceit lead to Robyn and me finally getting beyond our own personal awkwardness. We started hanging out often, and became really good friends, all it took was some sexual harassment.

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