It seems a natural for love to bloom at the office, and as much as we always hear that dating someone at work is forbidden, and discouraged and just not a good decision, people still do so in droves. It's fairly easy to see why. You spend at least 40, and often 60 or more hours there together. Especially if you're in a position of responsibility and you excel at your job, as do they, you both see each other in a very positive light. You have similar interests, mutually admire each other, and work closely on projects that culminate in satisfying, profitable conclusions.
Or, at least that's the ideal. Still, most human resource professionals will tell you to avoid love at the office. Most will tell you dating someone at work is more risk than all but the most positive long term results would warrant. Dating someone at the office can begin with love, but end with animosity towards each other, from co-workers or subordinates, jealousy from your mate or others who are attracted to your mate or see you succeed and wonder if you've earned it.
Some liken the office to a family, and describe the animosity generated by the rumors that fly of favoritism due to love and romantic relationships to sibling rivalry. Of course love at the office can have expansive legal repercussions. What began as a consensual relationship between supervisor and subordinate might not be presented by the jilted subordinate later down the road.
Charges of harassment, blackmail, or even rape could result - and have. Repercussions can and do get felt throughout the office as the productivity turns from office tasks to spreading the gossip. In a 2002 workplace study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 25 percent of U.
S. firms expressly forbid dating someone at work, although 81 percent of the managers surveyed said that they frowned on love at the office. These 81 percent said that these romances usually lead to workplace conflict and were often downright dangerous.
What's really contradictory, however, is that this same study found that two thirds of those who found love at the office ended up marrying their new found love. The message to take away from this is that while you may find that dating someone at work brings you a happy long term relationship you should keep your distance at work, and be as discreet as possible. If the relationship matters that much to you, it may be very sound advice for the one whose job is the least advanced, and who is best capable and willing, to find a new job once the romance starts to sizzle.
Of course, the issue then becomes whether you really wanted to do that or if you're later going to resent giving up your career for someone who wouldn't give up theirs. The other disadvantage of love at the office is that it can be just too much togetherness. Coming home to each other may be a whole lot more affectionate, exciting and fulfilling when you haven't been toiling side by side all day.
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