In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post something on love at the office.
The workplace is a fertile ground for relationships. Co-workers, after all, spend most of their day together in a safe environment, working towards similar goals. The office’s abundant bonding makes dating very easy, and almost inevitable. Despite the ease of entering into an office romance though, actually being in one and ending one can bring about a mess of complications.
If you’re part of an office romance, you should assess the relationship early on. You and your partner will need to discuss a few things. Of course, nobody enjoys having that particular talk, but you need to think objectively for a minute in order to avoid losing both your job and lover. You’ll need to figure out how serious the relationship is and, from there, whether you should stay quiet or go public. You’ll also need to prepare for whatever catastrophes might arise.
In office romances you’re dating either a colleague, subordinate, or boss, and each has its own issues. If you’ve paired up with a colleague, think about how well the relationship might stand up to rivalry. How will you deal with competing for the same promotion? If you’ve paired up with a subordinate, you should prepare yourself for accusations of favoritism. Other subordinates might frown upon this relationship and you should work hard to remain objective in business affairs. The same caution against favoritism is true if you’re dating your boss. Jealous coworkers may attribute any promotion or raise you receive to the fact that you’re hooking up with the primary decision maker. Another thing to think about when dating your boss is his/her temperament. Are they ruthless in business? Think about how easy it’d be for your boss to make things miserable for you after a break-up.
Regardless of whom you’re dating, you’ll want to make sure there’s no policy against the match-up. You can risk sneaking around quietly if there is, but be aware of the possible repercussions. Apart from policy restrictions, you may want to keep the relationship under wraps indefinitely if either of the partners is married. Note that if you do decide to keep your romance clandestine, you may have to see other coworkers trying to flirt with your partner. If you are the jealous type, make sure this won’t lead to a nasty grudge that’s bound to puzzle the target. Keeping quiet about this relationship while it’s still developing and you’re both attempting to figure out what it means can also be a wise choice. This should help maintain a degree of professionalism and prevent a potential break-up from destroying the positive atmosphere of the office.
If you decide to make your relationship public, take a few steps to ensure your coworkers don’t have a backlash against you. Avoid public displays of affection, using company funds and time for personal uses, and blatant favoritism.
Open or secret, bear in mind that you and your partner will be spending a lot of time together. While this is obviously great for some reasons, it might create some friction in the relationship. Make sure you have a little alone time every now and then to avoid this.
Factor in how entwined your lives will be and prepare for the worst. If you break-up, make sure you’ll be able to act civilized. Handling a split poorly will be nothing but detrimental to both your careers.
Office affairs may not be as taboo as they once were, but it’s still important to tread carefully for the benefit of both love and work.