Office romance is not uncommon. According to statistics, over 50 percent of American business professionals have had a romantic relationship with a coworker, whether it is a one-time hook-up or a committed relationship. Sometimes office romance ends in disaster, sometimes it leads to marriage. You can never know till you try. If you've decided to give it a shot, here are some tips for dating a coworker.
Check out company's policy. If your company's policy strictly prohibits relationships between coworkers, dating someone you work with will jeopardize your career. So before you act on your feelings, ask yourself whether it is really worth it. Are you ready to sacrifice your job if people learn about your relationship?
Don't date your boss or subordinate. Dating a person who is in a position of authority over you or vice versa puts your both in an awkward situation. People are going to see bias whether there really is bias or not. The safest option is to date someone in a different department.
Don't date a taken coworker. Taken coworkers, whether married or in a committed relationship, are off limits. Being a home-wrecker can damage both your personal and professional reputation. Keep it in your pants.
Do some critical thinking. Even if you have strong feelings and hope to be together forever, you might break up. And then what? If you continue working together, things will be awkward not only for the two of you, but for other coworkers as well. Is either of you ready to transfer to another department or even quit the job if things get really ugly? You must have an exit strategy even if you are not going to dump them any time soon. And you absolutely need to discuss it with the person you want to date.
Be discreet. Even if your company's policy doesn't prohibit inter-office dating, you still need to be discreet. No flirting too much, no PDAs, no fights in front of your coworkers, nothing. Firstly, it is unprofessional. Secondly, it will make people around you uncomfortable.
But don't keep it a secret. You don't have to advertise your romance, but must tell your bosses/HR department that you are a couple. It is hard to keep relationships secret in an office, gossips will fly. Your bosses/HR need to learn the news from you, not through the grapevine.
Remember that work comes first. During work hours, you are first and foremost coworkers. Leave your personal relationship outside the office and concentrate on your work. Of course, you can still talk, but your work performance mustn't suffer. Work hours are not extended quality time so keep the boundaries clear between your professional and personal lives.
Find common interests other than work. At the beginning of your relationship, sexual chemistry and conversations about work will be enough to keep your interested in each other. However, you need to get to know your coworker to figure out if there is something that will hold you together in the long run.
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