The Gamble of Workplace Romance

Because of how much time we spend at work, often more time than we have for socializing outside of work, the chances of meeting someone that we're interested in at work is very probable. But is romance compatible with success at work, or can it become a career disaster?

The answer is, it depends upon the company. In some organizations displays of affection and workplace romances are common and are of no concern. In other organizations it may be frowned upon or forbidden. Look around and observe what others are doing. Even if the company has no written policies, the company culture may have unwritten rules about workplace romance.

Displays of affection such as hand-holding or kissing on the job can make many people feel uncomfortable. It may result in you being the subject of company gossip and jokes. Even simple on the job flirting can make some people feel uncomfortable and cause a decline in employee cooperation and productivity. That's why some organizations have written policies against workplace romance.

Flirting or having a relationship with your boss is never a good idea. Coworkers will judge every assignment and every benefit you receive from the company as favoritism. And after breaking up, which eventually happens in 99 percent of all relationships, your boss can make your work life miserable. If you don't get fired, you may end up having to leave the company anyway.

If You Do Choose Workplace Romance

If the attraction between the two of you is so strong that you want to gamble with a workplace relationship, agree to some workplace rules. Displays of affection can make your coworkers uncomfortable and change the workplace dynamics. Agree that there will be no kissing, no hand-holding, and no displays of affection while at work, and no discussing your relationship with coworkers.

Of course, what you do outside of work is your own business, but don't let your guard down at after-work company functions. If eventually the two of you get married, married people working for the same company is common and totally acceptable. However, displays of affection, even between married couples, is in bad taste. Even when married and working at the same company, working in the same department is not a good idea for your career or for your marriage.

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