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Don't let an office romance be career-ending: Part 2

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Once we’ve checked off the obvious rules when having an office romance, we can look at how to proceed and successfully share our place of work with our significant others by following these tips:

  • Talk to management if there are questions. If we feel there may be a conflict of interest with a relationship, our manager or human resources should be able to help answer any questions or discuss what the company policy is around dating in the workplace. Most companies also have this spelled out in the employee handbook, too. However, relationships are not always black and white and any grey areas would likely need to be discussed with someone.
  • Search out a neutral place to determine interest. Sometimes, there’s nothing creepier than a co-worker approaching another co-worker and asking them out at work. Sometimes attraction is immediate. Other times, it occurs over time so it’s best to find somewhere off campus to talk and get to know someone for the purpose of starting a relationship. If the other person is not interested, they are not interested period. Leave the ball in their court and don’t continue to pursue him or her or it could come down to them feeling harassed or threatened, eventually involving management and human resources.
  • Don’t frequently call in a “dating” or “married” favor to accomplish a goal or get work done. Realizing that this does happen, the key is to ensure it doesn’t happen so much that it’s disruptive to the workplace or our better halves.
  • Appreciate each other's role in the company. This is especially true if someone works in a sensitive area of the organization, dealing with confidential information. While it may not be uncommon for couples to talk about what happens at work when they get home, it’s important to have an agreement not to discuss confidential information learned at home with others at work. There’s a reason it’s confidential and it needs to stay that way; not to mention a person could get fired for sharing it in the first place.

Working with our significant others can be a non-issue for the companies we work for if done right. However, if professionalism isn’t on the forefront of either person’s mind, the office relationship can have disastrous results. Not just to us and those around us, but also to our careers.

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