A woman I'll call Carrie was a young, successful sales rep for a major pharmaceutical company. Her star was rising rapidly and she spent about four days a week on the road with her regional sales manager and his technical adviser. Both were men. Both liked to end a long day in the hotel lounge over drinks.
"I knew that joining him and his buddy in the lounge would be smart for my career," Carrie told me. "But I was uncomfortable, and my husband was uncomfortable too."
Right here hit pause. Note to my readers: As I set up this very common situation, I do not place the onus of moral behavior on the woman alone. Hardly is it Carrie's job to carry the banner of right and wrong, to see that "nothing happens." My message to men would consume another column. But in writing to women, as I do here at Her.meneutics, I stay aware of what my sisters and I can't control—other people, many circumstances—and what we can: ourselves.
To both sexes, and with national headlines ringing in my head, I open with the obvious reminder that marginal situations can sideline the best reputations and highest careers. I leave it to columnists and commentators to debate FBI procedures and online missteps. As I write to Christian women in a professional climb across the United States, our question is more immediate and practical: How do we contribute to healthy, strategic work with men so that we advance our careers without risking right relationships—or the good work we may be doing?
At the risk of sounding idealistic, even trite, my first counsel is that the path that winds through work that is both personable and professional begins in God's presence. No shortcuts. Our daily steps ...1
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