A week ago the principal of one of the major seminaries inspected several workplaces of his graduates together with a technical expert from the Rabbinical Committee. They met with the employers to review and discuss the Internet filters that were in place and the need to upgrade them where relevant.
The founding of the Rabbinical Committee to Fortify the Das at the home of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky
In one of those offices, the employer complained to the principal: "The chareidi group that works here is totally cut off from the rest of the office. There are a lot ways this expresses itself, but I want to tell you about something that happened today. At 9:55 this morning, I was surprised to see that all 30 of those girls vanished. Ten minutes later they came back. It took me some time to realize that in order not to stand still during the morning siren of Holocaust day without drawing unwanted attention to themselves, they found an original solution: to disappear.
"Their separation does not bother me personally. As far as I am concerned the main thing is that they do their work properly. But I imagine that they do not feel so good about being cut off from the rest of the office."
The employer was very surprised to hear the principal smile and say, "You cannot imagine how happy you have made me!"
Unfortunately there are many other offices in which the situation is not exactly happy. Many years ago HaRav Wosner zt"l warned about the tremendous problems that can arise in office environments, whether from the Internet or from other aspects.
More recently HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein asked us to remind people that when checking out potential places to work there are pitfalls besides the Internet from the social environment. The form of the pitfalls is different, but the root is the same: problems in the boundaries of personal kedushah. Where there are non-religious (or non-Jewish) workers there is an additional problem of being negatively influenced by the secular atmosphere.
The yetzer hora snake lies in waiting to bite people in the heel when they trample the halachic limits. One of the large vulnerabilities comes from the lack of clarity in the area. When the limits are not clear, it is easy for the yetzer hora to blur the issurim and raise all sorts of imaginary heteirim.
Even in such well defined and documented areas such as the laws of yichud, the practical aspects of offices are not well understood. For example, in some offices the only entry is by punching in a code, and sometimes a situation of prohibited yichud can result.
Sometimes girls are hired to work in special areas designated for chareidi women, but after some time, they are offered a raise to work on other projects where they must sit together with everyone else. Such things should be asked about in advance and a policy should be decided upon before the fact, possibly with advice from experts.
Sometimes keeping the required boundaries causes discomfort with respect to the employer or with respect to other workers. But if one remembers that these are absolute obligations, and that this is the only way to remain on the job, the test is easier.
Usually the hardest time is the first few days, since people get used to established patterns.
In rare cases where there is no solution, and there is no way to work without transgressing issurim or risking spiritual decline, parnossoh does not override. One's parnossoh must pass through a different company. If there is doubt, expert advice should be sought, and there are many sources of this.
However in almost every case, a solution can be found. Sometimes it requires a little effort or boldness, or even a little discomfort. But what don't we do for parnossoh!