May 28, 2010

All is Fair in Love and...Work?

(Reprinted from True Love Direct)

You can’t help who you fall in love with, though it is true some types of people are better left alone. One type may include your boss or coworker. However, while workplace romances can sometimes lead colleagues to live happily ever after, it is more likely to lead them to disaster.

Before you do anything, before you even finish reading this article, pick up a copy of your company’s policy on workplace relationships. Some places turn a blind eye where colleagues of similar ranking are concerned; other places strictly prohibit these relationships. (While employees of the same position are not terribly concerning for a company, they will very rarely allow a manager to date his/her subordinate.) It is best to know where your employer stands from the very start.

If your company looks down on interoffice relationships, what comes next? As calloused as it may be, you need to evaluate your relationship. Are you in it for the long-term? Are you willing to lose or change jobs in order to sustain your relationship? Because it may come down to that. Depending on your office’s environment, it can be very difficult to keep this hidden. You must assume coworkers will find out in some way. If you decide that you will still pursue the relationship, you should sit down together and discuss who should be the one to find a new job—in the event that such a step becomes necessary.

If your work is okay with the situation and you are both committed to staying together, be open with your manager/s right away. Reveal the nature of your relationship and explain your plan or ideas to not let this affect your work. That is the main thing managers worry about: how will this dalliance negatively impact the company? Nip their concerns in the bud by being proactive. They will appreciate your show of professionalism amidst the new development of your personal life.

First comes love, then comes the no-brainers of any interoffice relationship. Just because everyone now knows about your liaison doesn’t mean you are in the clear now. There are some things you need to know about what not to do:

1. Do not bring your arguments to work. Not only is it unprofessional, it is also the fastest way to alienate both coworkers and each other.

2. Do not miss work together. I get it, sometimes you like to play hooky and spend the day at home together. But when you work together, this is a big no-no. Your manager will see right through your giddy “I really am sick! Honest!” call.

3. Do not share juicy details with coworkers. Trust me, they don’t want to hear about how you seduced their colleague with a strip-tease.

4. Finally, do not fool around at work. This is never a good idea. Sexy, sure. But with employees milling around (not to mention the possibility of surveillance cameras), it is far too easy to get caught, and this is one offense your manager will not let slide.

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