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Romance at Work

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Lisa A. Mainiero
Long hours and shared stress at work are leading to more office romance. But, being in such a relationship has its pros and cons.

Cupid at Work!

Recent surveys have disclosed that an increasing number of professionals are involved with someone at work. What are the benefits and what are the troubles of being in relationship with a co-worker?

Advantage - Love At Work

The supporters of romance at office stress that the benefits range from the practical aspect of saving time and money, to the emotional understanding of someone who is going through the same grind. Dating someone at work means that you don't have to keep canceling when you are busy. You can have imprompt dates whenever the two of you are free. You are both on the same schedule so you save time instead of waiting all day for work to get over. Adds Christopher, a bank executive, "You can share all your stress and your partner understands since he also goes through the same trouble. Ditto for the occasions when you need some space or are in a bad mood due to some professional disaster." The best part is that you don't take long to know your partner. You get to see the true side of his or her nature. This is unlike dating an outsider when both people are on their best behavior. Economically speaking, it's always better to date someone from work. You save money by traveling together and it makes sense to move in as well.

A relationship at work has many dangers. Here are some tips to help you avoid them:

1) Don't rush into anything. If you are interested in someone at your work place, take your time to approach him or her. You will have enough time to read the person, since you meet them everyday.

2) Be careful if you are new at a job or in an extraordinary situation, like a trade show or a conference, and someone seems over-friendly and is prying into the intimate details of your personal life. This could mean that they are more interested in you being a potential threat to their position rather than being a romantic interest.

3) Test your business friend with low-risk trust tests to see how reliable they are.

4) You can be friendly at work without jeopardising your career. Remember that you don't have to reveal your family secrets to make friends.

Work and nothing else:

But there is another camp which strongly feels that mixing work and pleasure is a very bad idea. Explains sales executive Lindsay, "Working with someone and also dating that person means you are with that person all the time. That is not at all a good idea since it's always better to have some space between the couple." An ugly reality is the negative effect on the work performance when the couple breaks up.

Says Amanda Peet, an engineer, "I remember not working at all when I had broken up with my co-worker. Trying to ignore him at meetings was also awkward and created a very bad ambience at work for everyone." Jealousy is also a problem as Paris Hilton, an account manager explains, "You see your boyfriend flirting with others. At those moments, forget about being professional. You wish that you could disappear and it's hard not to let that affect my work." Colleagues also get jealous if the involved couple is showing too much indulgence to each other. Says Joan Allen, a software engineer, "It's pretty obvious that because a colleague is the boss's girlfriend, she gets promotions. She also doesn't have to do any work. That has really made us all angry.

Lisa A. Mainiero

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