Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dealing with office romance (baby James????)

“Don’t sh*t where you eat” is what they all say.

Yet one way or another, a lot of us can still say “been there, done that” when it comes to office romance. Only the experience differs, of course. A lot of people would not recommend romance in the workplace for a lot of reasons. Yet others can attest they have found their true love (life-long partners, even) at work. Given this, is it worth a try?

To ensure your relationship with a co-worker ends up a success (or would at least have a clean ending, sans anyone getting fired or resigning), here are a few rules to observe:

1. "One year rule." recommends adhering to this rule “by gradually letting a workplace or business acquaintance become a friend. Even then, try to keep it a casual, non-intimate friendship.” They also caution against getting into this tricky situation when you are new in the office.

2. Too small for comfort. The article “The dangers of dating a coworker” lists the potential benefits and disasters of having an office romance, cautioning against it in a small- to medium-size office environment since that’s where it is most potentially disastrous; everyone is bound to know about it sooner or later and will certainly get on your case. Horrible downsides (like ugly public quarrels and losing concentration at work) also tend to outweigh all perks.

3. Keep it professional. “Life’s a Bitch and Then You Change Careers” author and career consultant Andrea Kay shares with, “My best advice is if you're going to embark on a relationship with someone you work with, you absolutely need to keep it professional. Otherwise, you open it up to offending others, letting your decisions be based upon the personal relationship as opposed to what's best for the job or the project you're working on." Andrea also believes you can offend people through public displays of affection, so avoid these at all costs (hand-holding, mushy e-mails, and make-out sessions included).

Don't allow the romance to distract you from what you should be doing in the office: your job.
4. Stay real. An article by Denise Kersten for USA Today advises that you must not lose touch with reality. Don’t allow the romance to distract you from what you should be doing in the office: your job. Do other activities away from the office so your relationship will not revolve around it.

5. Be discreet yet honest. The “Office romance survival guide” by Caro Handley tells us that the “key to successful office romance, whether it lasts or not, is how you handle it at work.” The article advises readers to be discreet by only meeting up after work at a place far from the office and not flaunting the relationship around the workplace (especially through favoritism). It also maintains that both parties should be honest enough to admit the truth to people when asked, but to spare them the details. And after a break up, “avoid drama and resist revenge”—this includes resisting the urge to bad-mouth the other person.

Now you know better, ladies. We won’t tell you to drop that blossoming office romance; just make sure when you're getting into one, you remember these rules.

Would you recommend romance in the workplace? Tell us why or why not!

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