I have enough experience and the stories of so many others, to mean it when I say ‘Don’t sh*t on your own door step!’ Dating a co-worker, I’ve always firmly believed is what you do when you really, really like someone; not what you do when you’re looking for no strings fun. If you decide to dip your pen in the company ink, remember that if it all comes to an end 1) you have to still remain professional 2) it could affect your ability to continue working happily 3) they could make it difficult for you to continue working there and,Â 4)Â Â Â you may have to leave.
Obviously the flipside is that you can live happily ever after and meet the man of your dreams, after all, if you’re in work full time you can spend upwards of 40 hours a week with people so it’s unsurprising that cabin fever takes hold!
But in the meantime, remember the following:
1. Access your target. If the co-worker in question has a habit of dating around the office, you could be one in a long line of people. It also means that propped up by company gossip you may hear information that may or not be correct about the object of your affection. Use your judgment skills wisely.
2. Check your company policy. In many companies, it is company policy for co-workers not to date so doing so could land you in hot water and potentially affect your career.
3. Is it a just a casual shag or potential for a relationship? If it’s the first, you can get a shag anywhere without having to face them at the watercooler.
4. Access the environment. A small office (and I mean 250 people or below) seems to create a situation where you live out your relationship as it’s a goldfish bowl.
5. You get to see your partner a lot! This means that on a positive note, you can lunch together, hang after work with mutual work colleagues, bitch about other people and share your woes. The downside is when you’ve woken up pissed off with each other and you can’t escape each other for 8 hours like normal folk.
6. Be careful of crossing the line with each other. Familiarity breeds contempt and whilst you don’t mind your man being bossy or calling you on things at home, you don’t want him doing it in front of co-workers. You also don’t either of you taking advantage of the fact that you both work together and expecting that you will put each other’s work needs first, even when you shouldn’t.
7. Remember that if you work together, live together, play together, and pretty much do every damn thing together, you will either talk far too much about work to occupy your talk time or you’ll run out of things to talk about. It’s important to have separate lives!
8. Leave your problems at home. If you become known for playing out your dramas in front of colleagues either at the office or at social events for work, you will be disliked. A lot and people will begin to feel wary of being around you. Not to forget that bringing your relationship woes to work is unprofessional.
9. If you really both have to work at the same company, at least work in different departments/teams. Better still, work somewhere else. It’s good to be independent.
10. Remember that dating a co-worker may impact negatively on how you are perceived or how your ability to work is perceived. How you handle dating them will cement these perceptions. Don’t let either of your bosses think that the relationship is taking centre stage instead of your job.
11. People will always gossip. If people aren’t making up stuff about you or reporting on seeing you both have a cheeky snog together, they’ll also be quick to tell you gossip about your partner’s past. You’d better hope he doesn’t have one or that you have a tough exterior. Oh and of course, if you have a past, they’ll chat about you too!