The following is simple professional career advice:
- Don’t dip your pen into the company ink well! To be less cryptic, don’t date co-workers and especially not those whom you manage. There are so many reasons to avoid this situation that I could write an entire book on this entire topic. Suffice it to say, it’s almost impossible to remain professional when your relationship sits across the aisle in the next cube. Worse, if the relationship goes sour, that person can hold your actions against your job role in retaliation which can lead you to the door. Once an office relationship crumbles, all that’s left to salvage is one’s own career. At that point, office politics take over which doesn’t always end well for one or both parties.
- If you want to date, use a dating site or service outside of your employment and make sure your relationships stay far away from your company and job. If you happen to argue with your relationship because of a personal conflict, that information won’t become the latest water cooler gossip around the office and, therefore, it cannot be used to affect your job status.
- Never get drunk at company functions! This should be self-explanatory. To be blunt, getting drunk may send the wrong message to your managers about how you handle your social life. Being drunk at a company function may backfire on you if something is said or done unintentionally or inappropriately while under the influence of alcohol. Always know your alcohol limits and understand how alcohol affects you. If you become an angry, chatty or overly affectionate drunk especially if you tend to forget what you did, this can mean inappropriate behaviors during company functions. It’s even possible that political co-workers might try to set you up to fail under such circumstances. Such uncontrolled behaviors can lead to dismissal. If you want to get drunk, take it to a bar or do it at home on your own time without co-workers around. And finally, make sure you are fully sober when you arrive to work the next day.
- Only you can protect your professional image. Only you can protect your personal privacy. Never feed the office politics trolls. By engaging in any of the above activities, you may end up forfeiting your job because of self-serving co-workers willing to use office politics (and your own actions) against you.
Failing to heed this advice is almost certainly what got you fired. The possible racism issues you brought up, while her actions were completely unprofessional, didn’t help you personally. However, if the company had wanted to fire you over your HR complaints, you would have been asked to leave long before the slap.