With the majority of people dating someone from their own workplace at one point or another, there is an abundance of advice on the do’s and don’ts of carrying on an office romance. If you missed Part 1 of this Love is in the Air series, read it here. For Part 2, Maggie Oldham—a business and dating etiquette expert and founder of LA-based Executive Class—lends her insights into the tricky territory of coworker romance:
1. First, congratulations! Some of the best relationships blossom between co-workers.
Think about it: you have two like-minded people who share a similar career and field expertise and who most likely live in the same city (no long-distance relationships here!). You probably already have mutual friends, and you already know a little (or a lot!) about the person. There's something really special and beautiful about a relationship that grows organically over time between two acquaintances.
2. Keep PDA (public displays of affection) out of the office and try to limit the amount of time spent together in the office.
It may be hard if you work on projects together, but keep the cubicle or office visits to a minimum, and avoid one-on-one time (even over your lunch hour) as much as possible. Spending too much time together, just the two of you, gives plenty of opportunity for other colleagues (or your boss) to think you're not getting your work done.
3. If you find yourself in a situation where you're dating someone you
report to (or who reports to you)…
the two of you should schedule a meeting with your HR department to discuss options as soon as there is any hint that colleagues may find out. Your HR department is trained to handle these types of situations and can advise you on a course of action.
4. Remember that there are eyes outside of the office as well.
What goes on in your own apartment is totally your business, but keep in mind that everyone has cell phones with video capabilities. The last thing you want is a nightclub makeout session to circulate throughout the office. When you are out in public in the town you work in, just be cautious about your
surroundings and your behavior with the co-worker you are dating.
5. It's not necessary to have a big "coming out" event.
If you feel you must keep it quiet, do so. If not, no need to make a big announcement to everyone that you are dating. Your colleagues will find out eventually, and hopefully they will be happy for you if you've followed the above tips!
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About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, www.GradsTakeCharge.com. The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.
Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.