You spend most of your waking hours at work. You rarely get out for lunch, never mind dinner. You'd like to meet that special someone, but you just don't know where to look. Suddenly, Cupid shoots his arrow, and it hits the person in the next office. Out with all reason – love is in the air!
Sure, meetings will be more fun. You already have lots in common. But how often do office romances work? And when it ends, what will your life be like? Will you be peering around corners to make sure your former love is not in the hall? Avoiding the company picnic for fear your ex will flaunt a new love interest? Is this any way to live?
Before you throw your next promotion to the wind, here are five reasons why dating your coworker might not be the best idea.
1. Romance vs. Reality
Unfortunately, this is not a fairy tale, so you can't count on a happy ending. You can rail against the unfairness of it all, but think of it this way: If life were fair, you wouldn't be in this dilemma, and the arrow would have pierced the heart of someone nice who works for the company across the street.
If you are smart, you will deal with the real world and anticipate plenty of bloodshed before this tale concludes. One of you may need to leave the job if things don't work out. If things do work out, one of you may have to go, because it's against many companies' policies to date fellow employees.
2. One Promotion Later …
Let's say you become involved with someone in your department, and you receive a promotion. Now you're in a relationship with your subordinate. This opens up the possibility of blackmail. And what happens when it comes to conducting reviews and disciplining your significant other? You get the picture.
3. Play It Cool
Still thinking of dating a coworker? Better heighten your sense of discretion. You'll need a lot of energy and concentrated effort to keep your office romance just between the two you. And when coworkers eventually find out, you may be the subject of ridicule and suspicion:
- "I can't believe he's going out with her."
- "Of course he got the raise. Look who he's dating."
If you want people to focus on your professional abilities, don't give them reasons to fuel the rumor mill.
4. It's Not Just About You
You may think this is a private affair, but is it really? Logic tells you your romantic involvement will impact your coworkers directly. If you sit together in the company cafeteria, will people now feel they should give you privacy? Will they exclude you from certain conversations, because they don't know what you'll relay to your new love?
Consciously or subconsciously, your relationship may influence decisions that go well beyond a lunchroom. Your romance may color everyone's judgment with regard to promotions, projects, team building and responsibilities. It could make it more difficult for your department – and depending on your position, your company – to operate effectively.
5. Harassment Possibilities
And then there's the "H" word and all it can entail. If your relationship ends badly, will he or she tell HR you were making unwanted advances? Think about how a harassment suit will impact your career. Then join a local dating service.
While you're at it, also join some professional associations. They offer many opportunities to socialize while moving your career forward.
If after all this, you still feel that your coworker is "the one," what do you do? If you work for a big company, get yourself transferred to another department or facility. If that's not an option because of your profession or company size, get yourself a new job.
This article has been reprinted from Monster.