Is it wise to have a relationship with a colleague at the office?
We’ve all been there. You’re working long hours, and as the pages fall off the calendar and the seasons change you look outside the window nearest your workstation and see the smiling faces outside and wonder am I the only one working so damn hard in this city? You look around you and there she is, the pretty young woman with the awesome legs and the great smile. You ask yourself if the attraction is because you are both working your butts off or are you genuinely feeling it? Before you know it, you’re ordering in since you’re both working late. Then you have a few laughs over the fortune cookie from the crummy Chinese place down the street. The next week you leave work at the same time and walk to the E train together. A month later she wakes up next to you with that same smile that hooked you in the first place. Now what? These office romances usually go one of three ways.
You’re cool. She’s cool. You are both adults and work approximately at the same level in different departments. So it happens. You ate, you drank, you laughed, you rumpled her sheets and she’s totally cool about it. Maybe she has a boyfriend who works in Boston. Or she’s playing the field and she sees you as a great guy who she enjoys spending time with. You are not a stalker nutcase and you respect her space especially after you’ve done the deed. Or maybe she just wanted some variety or to take the edge off and you were there. And then again, maybe you two were meant to be. It happens. I’ve had a few office flings in my time and one lady ended up living with me and it worked out just fine. We both found new jobs organically, but at first she wanted to let people know that we were an item. And I did not. My question to her was, “Can you tell me one good thing that will come out of sharing this with a gossip crazed ad agency?” That kept the lid on our relationship until I found another job. At that point, it did not matter. We kept things cool and it worked out. Okay, there were a few awkward moments when someone made a lecherous comment about her in my presence, but no big deal.
If the word is out about you two and you are having a disagreement it sucks. Same thing if another person in the office or someone who works with your company has his or her sights set on one of you. Things can get sticky, fast. You don’t want your co-workers knowing about your personal business. They talk, maybe out of boredom, but they will talk. And when they do your colleagues will look at you differently and maybe guard their own words when either of you is around, especially if you impact their job. It can be awkward. And if there is a rift and someone at the workplace is the reason, business quickly becomes personal. Not optimal, amigo. And you don’t want to have a tryst in the physical office space even if your boss is an a-hole and you want to have sex on his couch, just so you have something to laugh about every time you see his smug puss. So tread carefully when the word gets out about your relationship. It can be used against both of you, and if you are not getting along it can get tricky.
This usually happens when one of you is the boss and the other a subordinate. Let’s say the boss decides that he or she has had enough fun. The subordinate gets dumped and all hell breaks loose. High stakes and tension become a toxic cloud in the office. Uncomfortable looks, emotional blackmail and even accusations of sexual harassment are rampant. You know it happens, even if it is not true. People try to keep their jobs by playing this card and it can work if the circumstances are set up the right, or should I say, the wrong way. This can be a messy situation and it impacts people’s careers. You want to keep it light and avoid this at all costs.
What To Do
As with all of your encounters with the opposite sex, do your very best not to let your sexual organs lead the way, especially at the office. Common sense, paying attention, and being a gentleman all go a long way when engaging the ladies. If you are a guy, look before you leap because you may be walking a tightrope without a net. If you’re a woman, remember that work is for working. Of course because we spend so many hours in an office many couples get their start at work, but if it happens be a professional and don’t let emotions dictate your actions. Our primary reason for being in the office is for the job, even if it’s not much fun. That’s what we get paid for so keep it in mind when that young hottie sashays her stuff past your desk every morning. I know, it’s easier said than done. Do your best and it will work out just fine.
Guy’s Guy of The Week:
Bill Clinton - for illustrating for our nation the dangers of dipping one's pen in the company ink.
Do you have a handle on office romances?