Just about anyone will tell you that dating at the office is not a wise move. But as often as we are all warned about the dangers of a corporate romance, there are many who still risk their careers for a shot at love. And why not? After all, we spend more than half of our lives at work and it only makes sense that we may strike a chord with someone we already have one thing in common with — our employer. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind if you decide to take the relationship with your colleague to a deeper level.
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Imagine the Break-Up
Even though it sounds terribly pessimistic, thinking about the break-up at the start of the romance will help your career and with establishing boundaries. Decide if you could keep working at the company seeing an old lover in meetings, in the break room, or at sales presentations. Although some office romances do end up at an altar, there are far more examples of affairs that don’t. Protect your career and reputation by preparing for the worst.
Don’t Date a Subordinate
We may not be able to control who we like, but we can control who we date. People who court or go out with someone that reports into them leave themselves vulnerable to a sexual harassment dispute. And even if things start well, a bad break-up can lead to a massive legal problem.
Avoid Flirty Emails
As tempting as it may be to send your sweetie a quick note, try not to. Love messages break most company communication guidelines and can get you in trouble with human resources. Not to mention, if the emails ever get shared, they can hurt your corporate image.
Limit the Gossip
You can cut back on the company gossip by not sharing the details about your romance with co-workers. Instead, find people outside your company to talk with about your relationship.
Resist Public Displays of Affection
Office romances make management wary. They fear the romantic connection may negatively impact productivity or relationships with clients. To let your organization know you can manage your job and your relationship, and to help keep gossip down, public displays of affection should be avoided.
Avoid Traveling Together on Company Time
When two lovebirds travel together, people begin to ask questions. They question lunches on the corporate card, unanswered emails and calls, and gifts to clients. Even if you both need to attend a sales call together, help management trust you by traveling separately.
Tell Us What You Think
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Belo Cipriani is an award-winning author, staffing professional, freelance journalist and the employment expert for the Ed Baxter Show on San Francisco’s Talk Radio 910AM. He has more than 300 published articles in national and international publications that cover job search tips, leadership and hiring trends. Cipriani is also the spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind and has lectured at Yale University. Learn more at www.belocipriani.com.