Tech & Work

Using sex as a career booster

Ever known anyone who used their body to move up the corporate ranks?  If not, you should be aware that it happens more than you might guess.

Both men and women do it.  It's still more "acceptable" for the guys - especially if the company is run by a leadership team which is male dominated.  Where the guy may be seen as just "studly" for his conquests of gals who are senior to him in rank; the lady who practices this approach is often seen as a more calculating.  And the guy is usually less negatively regarded by both genders.

I'll address this issue as it affects males in a later blog.  Today I'll focus on females.

I've worked with several women who conciously used sex to get the attention, become well known and then gain a promotion from someone at a level who could help them move forward. 

Two of them used it as planned: One - who ended up being the head of a large retail chain of departments stores- was very candid about it.  She believed it was the single best advantage she had over the guys with whom she had to compete for a promotion.  Another woman I worked with was a bit less out there with her comments, her nomenclature was "going up the ladder on my back."

I've also had clients who weren't as fortunate as the two noted above. 

One was a VP level individual who was moved ahead quickly after she began a romance with the CEO.  She felt all was going well until the boss became more demanding during their bed time and she realized it was time to break off the physical stuff.  Although he said he understood and appeared to take it well, it wasn't long before he started ignoring her comments and advice in leadership meetings and then became bitter toward her.  It then became clear that he'd started telling others in the company that she wasn't up to the job anymore and the sharks started circling her - watching for mistakes and jumping on them when they occurred.  By the time we started work together she'd lost a lot of her confidence and was in need of a new plan.

Our plan was based upon the need to get her out of that company.   She couldn't succeed in that environment.

It's a fact that even today women usually cannot escape the negative stigma of office romance.  Whether there are genuine feelings or it's just physical, when a guy and a gal work at the same place and "get together" it usually becomes known at some point later.  And the guy won't be penalized - he may be cheered by some of his dumber colleagues.  The woman won't be cheered by anyone in all likelihood.   And more probably she'll lose favor with both genders if she's seen as slutty.  Not a great career move.


success coach


John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

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