Romance at work
Finding a new flame is always exciting, but when it’s three desks down and must be kept under wraps it can feel utterly irresistible. After all, there is no better way to spice up the daily grind. And like friends dating, you already know you’ve got masses in common. But imagine the tension at the water-cooler should things go wrong, not to mention the escalation in office politics. Plus, you could even lose your job.
So are those romantic trysts on the stair-well best kept a fantasy? Or could this be the long-term relationship you’ve longed for? Before you proceed, keep these points in mind:
The impact on your work
Aside from the obvious hierarchical complications if they are your boss or vice versa, office relationships make managers squirm because they clearly reduce productivity. New love is distracting enough without the object of your affection being right in front of your eyes all day long.
The impact on your reputation
Unless you are both brilliant actors, it will be easy for your colleagues to spot the signs. Pretending absolute professionalism is a blatant giveaway and will be tricky to maintain. It makes it trickier still if the person you are dating is a friend. A seeming regression in your friendship will only get the gossipmongers going.
While you might think you don’t care what others say, talk behind your back could be damaging to the atmosphere in your office and potentially your career. Your reputation could be in peril. It’s best to come clean early, particularly if you work directly with your new partner. Otherwise you could be attacked for giving each other unfair advantages – potentially even landing yourself in legal hot water.
If things go wrong
At best, a fizzled-out fling will be a mild source of irritation at work. But if hopes were high and emotions were strong it could be a harrowing experience. Before entering into a work-place romance, it’s important that you both have the same expectations for the relationship. If someone is misled or badly burnt they could become embittered and perhaps even vindictive.
The aftermath of failed relationship can make the workplace absolute hell as there is no escape from each other. There’s also the danger of falling for the office serial dater. If you’re new to the office, do you homework. Look out for dagger-filled glares from previous conquests.
If things go right
Despite these warnings, there are circumstances when office romances lead to unbreakable bonds. Everybody knows someone who has met their spouse at work. It will certainly add extra pressures – you can’t get away from them if you have an argument and one of you might get promoted while the other doesn’t. But they will always know what you’re going through and understand your stresses.
Just remember that the same rules about dating apply: compatibility and chemistry are key. So, make sure the basics of a good relationship exist.
How to make it work
Instead of acting impetuously on your feelings, it’s best to talk beforehand about your expectations of the relationship and the implications it might have. To avert danger, try to be sure you both have the same level of feelings.
Then put your hormones on hold and take things slowly. Just as outside the workplace, it’s smart to pace yourself until you’ve really got to know the other person. Then you can assess if there’s enough spark to make it worth the potential risk to your career to take things further.
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