The Way to Work: Office Romances
by Rachel Balik
You spend the better part of your life at work. Our weekly feature, The Way to Work, offers tips and guidelines to help you succeed in the office. This week, learn how to navigate the rocky road of love at the office.
Fatal Faux Pas
SmartMoney astutely recognizes that if you engage in an office romance, “you could sacrifice your dignity, and perhaps your job. Not that that’s going to stop anyone.” Instead of trying to convince you not to have an office romance, SmartMoney warns you what you might be getting into. If you decide that against everyone’s better judgment that you must, must, MUST date a coworker, you can avoid making it worse by covering all your bases and following the suggestions offered in “Surviving an Office Romance.”
Source: Smart Money
In 2006, 58 percent of people polled said they had been in an office romance. For many people who work long hours, the workplace is their best chance for meeting a partner. You can follow their lead, but if you want to be one of the people who says, “I met my wife at work” and not one who says, “I had to leave my job because of that horrible woman,” there are some precautions you’ll want to take. For example, try to avoid dating a boss or subordinate. Keep your relationship a secret as long as you can. Consider signing an “office romance ‘prenup.’” (Yes. You read correctly.) Most important, remember to maintain your own life and interests and avoid getting swallowed whole by your office/romance.
Source: U.S News and World Report
The San Francisco Chronicle notes only slightly humorously that “The ‘jungle’ metaphor has been applied to both the workplace and the dating scene. However, when you mix those two things together, the original comparison becomes too tame an analogy.” But even if dating a coworker might well be called “The Fiery Pit at the Center of Hungry Cannibal Jungle,” that doesn’t stop people from doing it. As long as you’re going ahead with it, learn how to prevent everyone from knowing about your relationship and avoid encouraging gossip and resentment among your other coworkers.
Source: SF Gate
Working Your Way Up the Ladder Of Love
Now that you’re sufficiently terrified, shake it off, take a deep breath, and make your boss happy by batting your eyes at the guy in the cubicle next door. According the New York Times, modern bosses are actually enthusiastic about office relationships. “I am aware that there are potential issues,” one boss said. But she felt the good outweighed the bad since “when they meet each other and fall in love it only enhances their commitment to their jobs.” As long as your company doesn’t have a policy against it, the workplace may actually be the best place to meet a mate.
Source: The New York Times
Stephanie Losee and Helaine Olen, authors of “Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding—and Managing—Romance on the Job,” think that the office is exactly where you should be looking for a partner. Olen explained, “The office is the village of the 21st century. It's a great place to find romance because everyone has been vetted by Human Resources—the matchmaker of the office.” Furthermore, the women say that productivity goes up when couples are happy at the office. But make sure to follow their guidelines before selecting an office mate. For example, do you share interests beyond the mission of the company?