Office Hookups: 10 Dos and Don’ts
Posted by Girls Guide To on April 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM
One unintended consequence of the recession: Your harmless flirtation with that hottie from processing may soon heat up to a full boil. Experts predict a rise in office flings as pink-slip-wary employees work longer, more stressful hours—ideal conditions for on-the-job hookups.
Conventional wisdom tells us it's not a good idea to dip your pen in the company ink. But it's easy to understand that the amount of time co-workers spend together can often turn your office-boyfriend into your actual boyfriend. Did you know: Twenty percent of marriages stem from office romances? While there are clearly many office-romance supporters out there, there are some rules you need to follow to make sure that any office romance you try doesn't leave both of your careers in ruins.
No Means No
If you make a move on a guy and he indicates he doesn't want a relationship, don't follow up in two weeks -- or ever. The office is not a place to play your dating games.
Watch What You Write Down
It’s hard for those of us in our generation to think of chatting as “writing.” But it is. Anything you chat, even if you think you delete it, is probably recorded somewhere. There's nothing more embarrassing than being called into your boss's office to have what you thought were "private" e-mails printed and read aloud. Do not conduct your romance via e-mail, text or IM. Just don’t.
If you have a work crush on someone above or below you in the corporate hierarchy, you better be able to see your future…including the consequences of it not working out. It's a myth that people get into an office romance without thinking about it. Most people are cautious and aren't even aware that a relationship is developing until they're actually in it.
Be Prepared to Talk to HR
To the previous point: You should avoid dating your boss or a subordinate employee at all costs. But we all know, sometimes cupid's a fickle guy. So if you're in an office relationship that spans the corporate ladder, be prepared to sign a "love contract," a piece of paper that companies may give a couple if one of you is in a position of power in order to ensure that the relationship is consensual.
Cheat and Face The Consequences
Affairs are a real firing offense. And often, they can result not in just being fired, but criminal convictions. The reason it happens isn't necessarily the relationship, but it's a public embarrassment and the company cannot be seen that way. Not to mention, infidelity makes the holiday party awkward for everyone.
Keep it Low Key
Let's face it, even if your co-workers already know about your relationship, that doesn't mean it's OK to profess your love for one another in front of the fax machine. Not only will your lovey-talk annoy fellow employees, but too much romantic face-time at work could result in relationship overload. You both need breathing room, so save it for after hours.
Keep Your Cool
Keep your emotions in check while you're in the office. Don’t bring a fight to the workplace with you. Just because it's an office romance doesn't mean that you get special treatment.
Keep It Professional
Let’s be honest, you can't hide your relationship forever. Eventually, your co-workers are going to find out through office gossip. But even if you usually talk about your personal lives, tread lightly. They’re colleagues, not your BFFs. It's okay to share, but don't go overboard.
Know the Line
That being said, it's important not to cut out your work friends completely. You shouldn't tell your associates every last detail of your relationship, but you need to be careful that you don't end up isolating yourself from the resource that fills you in on upcoming promotions and juicy assignments. It's a very fine line to walk, so decide early on what you're willing to spill and what needs to be kept in the vault.
Breaking up is hard to do. If you've had a difficult break-up and you feel like your ex is sabotaging you at the office and making your work life miserable, you should try at all costs not to go to human resources. Instead, ask your ex to meet for drinks after hours on neutral territory, and try to work it out.