Career Acceleration Strategies and Skills

Love at Work

Love at Work

Dating someone from work is natural for many people. After all, who has time to meet someone when you’re working 60 hours or more per week? You may find that understanding your mutual work lives can deepen your relationship. And instead of rushing home each evening, you may be willing to work late, especially if you can do it alongside your beloved.

Despite the upsides, the downsides can be pretty daunting. First, there’s no escape if the romance goes sour. You still have to see and interact with that person daily. A failed workplace romance can also hurt your career and reputation. People may view a promotion or raise as favoritism, no matter how much you deserve it. And even if the relationship works out, it can be tough to work with your lover. “You get sick of each other,” says Judy Kuriansky, PhD, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dating.

Whether you should or should not date someone at the office isn’t always a clear-cut decision. It depends on your situation and personality. But if you decide to make the leap, tread carefully over these issues.

Make Sure You Can Take the Consequences

“If you decide to wander down that illicit path of meeting somebody in your office, remember to take the good with the bad,” says Paul A. Falzone, CEO of The Right One and Together, two dating franchises. “The biggest problem about interoffice relationships is that if it doesn’t work out, you still have to face that person every single day.” Make sure that you can.

Be Smart

You don’t want your entire life to be an open book. Before you ask your love interest out for a drink, be certain he isn’t the type to share your innermost secrets around the water cooler.

Date Up, Not Down

Dating a subordinate isn’t smart. Your relationship could be misconstrued as a power play — “date me, or you won’t get that promotion.” If things go badly, you could get hit with a lawsuit for sexual harassment, even if the relationship was mutual. Some companies require managers to report workplace romances and both parties to sign an agreement stating they willingly entered the relationship.

Be Discreet

Some people keep workplace romances a secret. That’s the route Falzone recommends.

But Kuriansky disagrees. She says that secrets can cause issues among coworkers. The key is to be discreet. Don’t hold closed-door meetings, don’t make overt displays of affection in the office and stay focused on work.

Get a Life

It’s important not to spend every waking hour with your lover and your work. That’s not good for any relationship. Pursue other interests together and individually. And make sure you have more in common than your jobs.

Dan Rust

Author, speaker and founder of Frontline Learning LLC, a corporate training and consulting company.

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