I started seeing an intern in my office. Without going into too much detail, I will say that the relationship got very serious, very fast—then got very ugly even faster. I’ve overheard her telling my boss (V.P. of Account Services) that I was, well, “unsatisfying” in bed.
She’s young and treats the office like it’s a high school, over-dramatizing everything, spreading rumors, and basically gossiping all day long—mostly about me.
Please, get me out of this mess with my career intact,
My father rarely gave me good advice (or told me he loved me, or helped me pay for college), but he did once give me a little nugget that I’ve tried to adhere to: “Son,” he said, “Never dip your pen in the company ink.”
Coming from the generation of disposable pens, it took me years to figure out what he was talking about. The fact that he was actually inside of his secretary when he said it further confused me. Regardless, I finally figured out what he was saying and have abided by his wisdom religiously for the last 4 months.
Since you now find yourself with company ink still dripping from your pen, this advice comes a little late. Perhaps it will be helpful in the future. As for now, let’s try to disarm the ticking time bomb you’ve created.
Don’t sweat this too much, you’re not new to this challenge. Whether you’re selling unneeded and/or overpriced products to teenagers, or simply poking a design intern in the parking lot, all challenges in the marketing business are basically the same: Positioning.
That said, you’re late to market on this one since she’s already kicked off an early PR blitz. It’s time to get to work.
Step one. Execute Operation Donut box.
If there’s an uncontested rule in business it’s that nobody outside of senior management turns down free donuts (except the germ-freak copywriter). Donuts are the peace-pipe of the cubicle world. Your intern is now your box of donuts—available for everyone to enjoy and benefit from.
First, head over to your favorite junior account guy, who everyone is somewhat surprised to find out is straight, and tell him the main reason you and the intern stopped seeing each other is because she was always talking about him. An account guy trying to convince the world he’s not gay is like money in the bank for someone looking to pass off a liability like your intern.
Next, cruise over to HR. Let the woman who manages this area of the company know that you need to get into the office supply room to get a toner cartridge, but it sounds like the intern is in there having sex with someone (don’t worry, she’s probably already doing the account guy). Giving the middle-aged lady in HR some office drama to get worked up about is like throwing a steak to a lion.
Step two. Execute Operation Sympathy.
Your Account VP has been in the same situation you’re in and will see through the infantile tactics used in Operation Donut Box, you’ll need a more sophisticated weapon to use against his well-fortified defense system. Cancer is just that weapon.
Let him know you were just diagnosed with testicular cancer. Tell him you’re committed to the company more than ever since it’s the only thing you really have left to live for as the love of your life, the intern, left you after you were no longer able to satisfy her sexually.
Duane, the good news is that you don’t need to worry about your career. If every guy who banged an intern ruined their career, where would our industry be today?
Denver, I’m here to help,
Need advice? You can contact Speedball at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @spdbll.