As Valentine’s Day approaches, your thoughts might be turning to romance in the office. The girl or guy in the next cubicle is looking awfully attractive. In fact you may already be head over heels, but haven’t yet revealed your feelings. What should you do?
If you decide to pursue your interest, you may be jeopardizing your love life and your career. On the other hand, if all goes well, your job performance may improve and your personal life will take a turn for the better.
According to the American Management Association, almost one-half-49% to be exact- of office romances result in marriage or a significant long-term relationship. After all, most people spend more of their time in the workplace than anywhere else. So if you decide to make the romantic move, be smart and know the rules.
Know the company’s position. Some companies have policies against dating among coworkers; others just ignore it. Although most organizations don’t want to intrude on their employee’s private lives, the shadow of sexual harassment looms large. It is never wise to date someone who is your supervisor or who reports to you.
Set the ground rules in the beginning. Discuss early on how you plan to handle the relationship around the office, and what you will do if things don’t work out. While that requires a level of maturity and discipline that is often hard to come by, do it if you both want to keep your job.
Consider the effect on your job performance. Being in love can be distracting. If your focus at work is on the object of your affection and not on your job, you are putting your career at risk. On the other hand, job performance could improve if you are trying to impress that other person.
Be discreet and professional. It is never a good idea to discuss your romantic relationships with coworkers so keep the details of your dating to yourself. The wise couple is careful that any interaction in the office is purely professional. It’s a matter of having your career and dating it, too.
Don’t let the love of your life get away. Be wise and be discreet. Use your head; but don’t lose your head.
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Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.