Dipping Your Pen in the Company Ink

Attraction at work is almost inevitable.  Since we spend somewhere between 1/2 to 2/3 of our waking hours at work on a typical weekday, it is natural for our eyes to zero in on at least 1 person of interest that we work with. At my company there are countless couples who got together because they met at work.

Since a potential romantic situation with a coworker is bound to pop up, it is best to focus on what to do when the situation arises, instead of discussing how to avoid or prevent these situations.

Here is my advice on how to handle when these situations happen:

  • Talk it out… ahead of time– It is important to set some rules ahead of time and stick to them.  If you do not set the expectation that you will not let your newly found infatuation affect your work then feelings will get hurt if work becomes more demanding for one person. Boundaries will be crossed. Also, don’t make your relationship just about discussing things that happen at work. It is easy to fall into this trap, but if you do then your relationship will be based on your work as opposed to other interests or hobbies you and your mate may have. A co-worker of mine was married to another company employee and they made a point not to discuss work with each other unless it was incredibly hilarious or involved one of the people having to move to another geography to keep their job- this seemed to allow them to build a relationship outside of their work.
  • Don’t eat where you sh*t– While it is difficult to control it, do your best not to choose someone who is too close to you at work. If possible, look outside of your immediate team and stay away from bosses/subordinates. Many companies have rules against the latter and when it comes to workplace romance, incest is NOT best. If the relationship doesn’t work out (which it often doesn’t) you don’t want to have to see and/or talk with the other person every single day.
  • Keep things quiet– When it comes to talking out issues at work it is natural to rely on co-workers. Co-workers understand what your job is like and the pressures you are under. But when it comes to workplace relationships, it is important not to confide in co-workers. If anything private about your relationship (its problems or otherwise) were to leak it could really hurt your reputation throughout the company.  When dipping your pen in the company ink make sure to get support from your friends outside of work.
  • Separate work from play– Although tempting, don’t mess around with your special someone at work.  If you let this slip, there is an exponentially higher likelihood that your work performance will suffer. If you start adding impromptu “flirting” or “fooling around” sessions to your schedule during the workday you may start missing meetings and deadline, no matter how organized you are. Many companies also have code of conduct rules that you must be conscious of related to workplace relationships… the rules may even affect your job.

One final consideration to note is how to deal with a relationship after it’s over. Ideally this topic was discussed because the couple heeded the first piece of advice I got (talking out how they would handle a break-up). Yet if not, the best course of action is to move on. Stay above gossip and bad-talk about your ex and focus on your job, it’s as simple as that.

Here is another article I found interesting on the topic that offers some additional in-depth advice.




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About Young Professional's Edge (YP Edge)

Aaron McDaniel is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held numerous management roles at a Fortune 500 company, being appointed Regional Vice President at the age of 27, and is the founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures. He is also the author of the book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World (http://www.amazon.com/Young-Professionals-Guide-Working-World/dp/1601632428). Aaron instructed a highly rated student-led course on leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas Undergraduate School of Business and has a book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due to be out later this year. Aaron offers advice that helps young professionals build the foundation for a successful career. Visit his blog, http://www.ypedge.com to learn more.

Posted on April 26, 2012, in Commentary, Just for Fun and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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