Why an Office Romance is a Bad Idea

Are you looking for romance at work?  Have you already made a love connection?  Before you get too involved, take a minute to consider why it might not be a good idea:

It could discredit you.  Being involved in an office romance may cause your managers and coworkers to question your level of professionalism.  You could find yourself in a position where you are more known for your love life than for your work performance.

It can negatively impact your career.  A workplace romance can make life a little more complicated.  Depending on your position and your organization’s policies, you may be required to disclose your relationship to the human resources department.  You could be asked to move to a different role (particularly if one of you is a supervisor).  It is also possible for the relationship to get in the way of a potential promotion.  You may be considered an inappropriate choice if there is a perceived conflict of interest.  Don’t forget that even if things are great now, relationships can get messy (particularly when they are ending).  If you do break up, you may find it difficult to work with your ex (and possibly even your ex’s friends.)  These damaged relationships can negatively impact your work performance.

It creates a perception of bias. Depending on your role, an office romance could put you in a position where your motives are regularly called into question.  Are you recognizing the contribution of a particular department because your girlfriend is a member of that team?  Are you trying to go to that conference because you know that your boyfriend will be there?  Being involved in a workplace romance makes you an easy target for this type of skepticism.

It may make your coworkers uncomfortable.  Don’t forget to consider how your new relationship could impact your coworkers.  They may feel uncomfortable working on a team with both of you together.  Also, they may be concerned that you will get special treatment because you are in this relationship.  In addition, your workplace friends could be less willing to confide in you because they are afraid that you will tell your significant other their secrets.

Like anything else, there are no hard and fast rules about romance in the workplace.  You may find the love of your life, and handle it so professionally that it does not negatively impact your job.  However, there is a very real risk that it could make things at work more difficult for you.  In this labour market, it is challenging to find and keep a job that you enjoy.  If you are lucky enough to be in this position, think carefully before you complicate your life by pursuing love at work.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand, Photo From: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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