Office Romance – Are You Gambling With Your Career?

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The office seems to be an ideal place to find romance–and in many cases even more effective than dating websites!  According to a very recent survey carried out by www.careerbuilder.com 39% of workers said they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career and 17% reported dating colleagues at least twice.

After all, it’s not totally unexpected that you may have an office romance – you’re around your colleagues for 35 plus hours a week and presumably also spending some lunch breaks and office outings with them. Apparently, nearly 45% of women and 59% of men who got romantically involved with a work colleague say the romance started with an emoticon in an email or text message, but it can start simply by a few flirting sessions by the photocopier or attending the same regular meetings.

However bear in mind dating someone you work with could be a disaster as if things don’t work out, there will be no avoiding seeing that person on a daily basis!  The key to a successful office romance depends on how you handle the situation at work and at home.

Be discreet

Avoid gossip.  This includes not starting the gossip yourself. I recall working overtime on a Saturday morning and the Office Manager was visited by two different women within a few hours and both worked within the company! Definitely not a good example to other office staff and they can’t expect any sympathy when rumours spread.

DON’T jump into bed after the first kiss! Meet up a few times out of work and get to know your colleague as an individual rather than just a co-worker. Make sure that it is not just work you have in common and that you actually like each other.

Until your relationship becomes steady and ongoing, try not to walk around with a big smug grin whenever you meet up with your new love around the office, don’t meet up behind the filing cabinets and don’t try a sneaky kiss as someone at some stage is bound to notice.  Make no mention of your new office relationship on Facebook and stay sober at any office party or gathering outside working hours until you are both happy for everyone to know.

All offices have their good and definitely not so good characters.  The office gossipers are the trouble makers who spend a lot of time trying to find a subject for gossip and spreading rumours, whether they are true or not.  And with email and instant messaging, it’s become easier than ever to spread harmful gossip that could affect both of you.

Romance has blossomed but go slowly

Do remember, you will eventually be spending days and nights with your partner and that can put a lot of pressure on a relationship as office politics can carry over into your home life.  You will both have to maintain a high level of professionalism in the office to ensure neither of you lose the focus on your job role and let your relationship affect your work performance and ultimately your career path.

Find time for yourself

No matter how much you love each other, you need some time apart. When you work with your partner, you can end up spending every waking hour with that person. It is therefore important to maintain friendships with people you don’t work with and go out and enjoy a sport or a night out with your own friends.

Coming out

Once you feel this relationship is for keeps, it is time to tell the people you both work with. Do remember that news of your new-found happiness won’t necessarily be welcomed with open arms by everyone. Work colleagues can feel confused about how to react to the news of the relationship, which can lead to awkward interactions in the office as well as strained conversations.

Even when your relationship is public knowledge at work, make sure you don’t show too many displays of affection as this can lead to jealousy and bad feelings from some colleagues.

If it all comes to a sad end

If you think breaking up is hard to do, try breaking up at work!  An office romance can end up in heartache and dread when the word spreads about your break up. It can be heartbreaking to see your ex every single day at work.

Make a clean break from your ex. One vital survival tip is to avoid contact with your ex, however, when you work together, it can be impossible to avoid each other! Find out if you can work in a different department, if not you both have to agree to be civil to each other, after all you both have a job to do! That way you will avoid most of the usual office gossip.

Behave professionally

Stick pins into his/her image at home if you want to, but at work behave professionally. Smile, be polite and try to show you are trying to move on. Avoid telling everyone the gory details of the breakup and criticising  your ex in every way.    The last thing you want is to have to cope with a break up and have problems with Management concerning your work performance.

You have found long-lasting love

There is quite a large percentage of office romances that will end in marriage. Your office romance can have a fairytale ending and conclude with a wedding. Once you are married, the situation will be a lot easier as all gossip and doubts should be far behind you and you can just enjoy the relationship.

What are your thoughts? Do you think dating someone at work is a DO or a DON’T? Tell us your experiences!

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Alex Wise served over 5 years as relationship expert helping women from around the world figure out the men in their love lives from an honest, male perspective. Alex is one of the contributors and editors for Loveawake.com dating website. He is passionate about thought leadership writing, and regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and online dating communities.
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