The numbers do not lie: many people meet the love of their life on the job. Anyone who tells you that office romance is off limits is just not being realistic. For every warning to “avoid dipping your pen in the company ink,” there is a happy couple somewhere who met while both were on the clock.
There are legitimate reasons, old and new, as to why this type of relationship is a bumpier road than most partnerships. One partner might be in love and the other might just be working up the corporate ladder. The priority of a seduction could be to get out of doing work, love having no place in the motive at all. Your coworkers can feel betrayed by a boss who is in a relationship with a colleague. Everyone in the company will find instances of favoritism, real or perceived, and in these circumstances, perception is everything. A cute employee who flirts with a superior raises the ire of everyone; imagine if the two of them actually get together and you get stuck with part of that good-looking one’s work load as she leaves the office early for the weekend. And office politics is not for the weak – employees may work to sabotage a relationship in order to advance in the company. If all is fair in love and war, the office is often a web of alliances and hatreds that rival an international summit – don’t count out a war getting in the way of love.
And yet, despite all these obstacles, coworkers meet and mingle and eventually mate with regularity all over the world and in every work environment and culture. A deliveryman in Venezuela hooks up with a woman who runs a small farm far from the city while the owner of a small chain of fashion outlets in New York invites one of her store managers out for a drink after he has met a bold sales target. The types of workplaces are innumerable, but there is only one human heart, and there are a few ways for it to be seduced on the job. Here are some seductions to avoid and others that are worth trying:
Office Romance Don’ts
- Don’t Have an Office AffairDon’t get involved with a married colleague or a coworker who is involved in a serious, committed relationship. While many good relationships begin at work, many if not most affairs begin there as well. And they almost never end up being good for either party. Being involved in an affair on the job is a self-destructive act first and foremost. Most affairs on the job are built on outright lies. If he says he will leave his wife for you, he is lying. If he says you are in line for a promotion, he is lying. If you say you will wait for him to make up his mind, you are lying to yourself about making sure you are available to meet the best possible man for a relationship.
- Don’t Ignore Company Policy Forbidding Relationships Between EmployeesIf your office forbids relationships between employees, it must be adhered to … or you should at least be ready to quit. If you are summoned into a meeting with a superior and asked about your relationship with another employee, assume that those above you in the company have been reading your emails. Since it is usually legal to do so, companies can find information about you in many ways. At some point, the relationship may be serious enough for you to no longer hide it. But if you cannot risk your job, don’t be foolish enough to think that he might be willing to be the one to look for another employer.
- Don’t Get Involved in a High-Drama RelationshipAvoid pursuing a seduction if the passion between you two cannot be contained under the sheets. An office romance must be one that never pushes your emotional life out into the office for all of your coworkers to know about. Office gossip travels at the speed of sound and every intimate detail that is aired in front of colleagues in the heat of the moment will be the top headline on everyone’s gossip itinerary. The reverse is also true … a passionate partnership that involves extending the lunch hour a little longer each day will bring immediate trouble in the office regardless of how much work you are getting done.
- Don’t Sleep with a Someone Who Is Competing with You for a PromotionLove is a battlefield and some people still use it for nefarious purposes. A player who is up for the same promotion as you is to be avoided. He may flirt hard, simply to exploit your weaknesses. Never fall too head-over-heels about a flirtatious come-on from someone who has the same skill set and job qualifications as you.
- Don’t Sleep with Your Boss or SubordinateIn addition to putting you into a no-win situation at work whenever the relationship has its ups and downs, this also puts you in a no-win situation with every other person at work.
Office Romance Do’s
- Do Pursue That Good-looking Single Guy at WorkIf he is available, interested and you two are compatible, the shared career gives your relationship a built-in compatibility. If his position at the company is more important than partnership, you should at least risk finding out about his character in this regard.
- Do Pursue a Seduction When You Both Have Job SecurityIf you are both secure at your job, and both irreplaceable, a great romantic partnership could actually enhance your mutual job performances. If you are both happier and understand what each other is going through, you will have so many things to talk about and relate to, it will only deepen the love relationship between you two. Whether it is tenure at a university, a strong union preserving your working rights or a specific talent that your company needs that only you and he can perform for them, job security can be the root of a blossoming love.
- Do Pursue Love in the Office if Your Job Is Not Important to YouMany people love their work and are loyal to their company, and that is a great thing. But if you must follow your heart and it leads you to the guy in the next cubicle, is your position worth sacrificing for a soulmate? If you answered yes to this, at least go make sure that your boss knows how you feel. Go tell him right now … unless you would be interrupting him making out with his secretary.