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David Letterman broke 2 cardinal rules governing workplace romance


If you're romantically involved with someone at work, follow the rules of engage-
ment for office affairs and workplace romance.  Photo:  Mark Goddard

Workplace affairs are fairly common these days. But David Letterman broke two of the cardinal rules governing workplace romance by becoming sexually involved with female members of his staff.

Rule #1 - Never become romantically (or sexually) involved with a person in your direct chain of command. (In other words – no boss – subordinate relationships)

Rule #2 - Never get involved in a workplace romance if either one of you married or in a committed relationship.

Letterman could have saved himself all this embarrassment if he’d followed the rules of engagement for workplace romance.  (See article entitled Why David Letterman Should Realize That Infidelity is No Joke)

Best Course of Action Regarding Workplace Affairs

The best course of action to follow when it comes to a workplace romance is not to have one. The risks greatly outweigh the rewards. But workmates who are sexually attracted to each other rarely follow this advice.

If you’re currently involved in a workplace romance, or tempted to become involved in one, familiarize yourself with the rules of engagement governing office romances and workplace affairs. The guidelines below will help you keep things on a professional level and minimize the damage a workplace romance can cause.

The Rules of Engagement for Office Affairs and Workplace Romance

• Never get involved with someone in your direct chain of command.

• Never get involved in an office affair if either of you are married or in a committed relationship .

• Confine your romantic attachments to someone who is a peer, rather than someone above or below you in rank.

• Know your company’s policy regarding office romance.

• Never underestimate the power of the office grapevine. Try to keep your office romance a secret, if you can.

• Keep it low key – don’t flaunt the fact that the two of you are romantically involved.

• Avoid public displays of affection – it’s highly unprofessional.

• Don’t gossip about your love life.

• Do not exchange embarrassing or ostentatious flowers, cards or gifts. (Small, discreet, tasteful gifts are okay.)

• Do not allow your office romance to interfere with productivity – yours, your partner’s or your coworkers.

• Do not use company e-mail to send passionate or suggestive love notes to each other.

• Do not leave X-rated voice mails on each other’s phones.

• Don’t show or request favoritism regarding work assignments, raises, promotions or company perks.

• Do not use company funds to entertain your partner.

• Refrain from overt sexual behavior on the job.

• Never engage in sex on company property. (That includes stair wells, supply closets and company parking lots.)

• Have a back-up career plan in case things take a negative turn. Be prepared to find another job.

*** © copyright 2005 - 2009 Ruth Houston

Ruth Houston is a New York-based infidelity expert who is frequently called on by the media to comment on infidelity issues in the news. She is the author of Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs, the founder of and publishes the Infidelity News and Views blog at  .

For more information on the topic of workplace romance, office affairs, and workplace or work spouse infidelity, see:

Why David Letterman Should Realize That Infidelity Is No Joke

Do Work Spouse Relationships Lead to Workplace Affairs?

14 Ways Your Work Spouse Relationship Could Sabotage Your Career

5 Infidelity Trends Likely to Affect You

Business Travel And Infidelity - How Cheating Men Use Business Travel to Hide Their Affairs

13 Things You Didn't Know About Signs of Infidelity

Free Infidelity Tip Sheets and Special Reports