Are They Really That Cute? The Risk Of Office Romance

One great thing about summer is the romance potential. The parties, brunches, and hot weekend nights are the best for meeting new people. There are more singles in the workforce than ever and lines  have blurred  when it comes to who you work with and who you party with. Since you spend more time working than just about anything else, you can certainly venture off into an office romance.

Statistically speaking men venture into office flings for fun while women do it to get ahead. Whatever your reason for the relationship, you need to know the potential consequences. Women are judged more harshly in these scenarios, limiting potential growth opportunities and ruining your reputation.

I’ve had two office romances and one was great. No one knew we were together and that’s how we liked it. We barely made daily eye contact and kept up the charade for a year. Due to that great experience, I attempted to mix business with pleasure many years later, and it was a disaster! Not only did it influence my job performance, but my overall emotional well-being. It was so bad that I hated going to work to see this person and the experience influenced my decision to quit the job all together. It wasn’t the whole reason I was unhappy, but it played a large role in my decision.

Here are 3 important tips to follow if you decide to take the leap.

Be Discreet.

I knew this and chose to not follow it. The beginning of a romance is exciting and you want to tell everyone about this amazing guy you’re interested in. Don’t. This will save you in the long run. Putting your business out there will invite people to perceive you in a way that’s not in the best light.

When you’re working it’s business as usual. Don’t assume people can’t pick up on vibes. The extended lunch breaks together, laughing at every joke he tells, and not so subtle glances. It’s always more fun to keep people guessing, while protecting yourself in the process. It comes down to the maturity level of both parties, and if you are able to carry on an adult relationship in a professional setting.

Check out their résumé.

Do your research. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of questions around the office like, “What do you know about John?” However, keep your eyes and ears open because if you’re not the first fling they’ve had, most likely you won’t be the last. Have they dated other co-workers? Are they known for over sharing about their love life? These are important things to consider.

office romance

You don’t want to get yourself in a situation where you are the next topic of office gossip, creating a hostile environment. In addition, harassment charges can surely be filed on either party if things go south. If that happens office gossip is the least of your worries. Remember, just because you work with them doesn’t mean you know them.

Read the manual.

You need to make sure they’re worth it. Most companies prohibit office romance as a way to avoid the compromise of information and keep their company culture intact. A member of upper-management having a relationship with a subordinate leaves the company vulnerable to secrets being spilled during pillow talk. Ask yourself, “Why him/her?” If your answer is, “They seems cool….” keep digging. You’re risking your career and reputation on someone who may set you back instead of moving your forward.

Sometimes office relationships can work.  Be mindful of what you want and where you want your career to go. What you think is love can definitely be a distraction from your goal of world domination. Again, make sure they’re worth the risk.


editor’s note:  If you’re still wanting to venture into that  office relationship, check out columnist Kelly Christiansen’s  article on mixing work and love here.

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