Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dating your co-workers

Deirdre: Every now and then I think about things I've done in relationships that I feel pretty sure I would never do again. At the top of my list: No more dating men I work with.
Alisha: There are definitely some pitfalls that could come from dating co-workers. What made that particular relationship regretful?
Deirdre: My last boyfriend and I actually worked in the same room. And the woman he dated before me also worked in that same room. I know -- I was on crack to even think about going out with him in the first place, but he won me over.
Deirdre: So you can imagine what it was like when we broke up. Soap opera.
Alisha: I know there are many couples who work together and somehow, their relationships don't seem to suffer from them being around each other 24-7. I salute them. But, on the whole, I just don't see how it's healthy to be around someone all the freakin' time.
Alisha: Space, people. Space.
Deirdre: It worked for my ex and me because our schedules were completely different. And I can kinda see it working for people who are employed at the same place, but work in different buildings, or departments. That space you speak of -- I think it's necessary if only to keep your co-workers from knowing your business!
Alisha: So what's worse, dating a co-worker or dating a boss?
Deirdre: A BOSS, of course! There's no way that's an equal relationship. Some might say the boss has the power, because they control the subordinate's career (promotions, raises, etc.). Others might say the worker bee can run to HR and cry sexual harassment if they don't get their way. It's just not the best way to pursue a healthy relationship.
Alisha: Yeah, in my experiences, I haven't seen or heard of many managers dating their subordinates. Though, I have heard of managers having affairs with their co-workers, but that's a whole 'nother blog topic.
Deirdre: Ohhhhhh yeah! The stories I could tell ...
Alisha: See, that's the thing. When co-workers date, the gossip line is completely abuzz. The whole, "did you know that he cheated on her... have you heard they had a big fight last night and she didn't come home," etc.
Deirdre: Been there, done that, could write a book. But here's the rub: As a culture we all work so much that the main place we meet people is at our jobs! When you don't get out much, that office hottie becomes harder to resist.
Alisha: In 2005, CNN had a story about a career publishing house that released an employee survey. The results showed that 58 percent of respondents said they have been involved with a co-worker and 22 percent said they met their spouse or significant other at work.
Alisha: Fifty-eight percent! That's high. I guess those 40-60 hour work weeks can squash your dating life, eh?
Deirdre: They can squash your meeting non-work-related people, smarty pants. Like I said earlier: that hottie that keeps walking by, sometimes you gotta for it! But since I've been burned, I now treat the office cuties as what they are: nice scenery.
Alisha: Good idea. Look at it as window shopping, and your credit card is maxed out.
Deirdre: You ever dated someone you worked with?
Alisha: I would use the term "dated" very loosely; more like hanging out and finding out we would never work. ... I prefer to keep my home life separate from my work life. My husband is in the same profession as I am and though I can't really prevent him from working with me, we both agree it would not be a good idea.
Deirdre: But I'd count that as one of the perks of being in a relationship with someone you work with! They know what's going on, so they understand the joys and stresses of your job.
Alisha: On the downside, if the stress gets to you both, such as the looming sale of your company for example, then you both go home facing double the pressure.
Alisha: To play devil's advocate, I could see where dating a co-worker is beneficial. At least you get the opportunity to sneak in "together" time while on the job.
Deirdre: Ah, but I could see how some bitter and petty co-workers could mutter about preferential treatment because of your emotional involvement with someone on the job.
Alisha: And don't forget how if you make friends who are co-workers as a couple, then, if a split does happen - you're possibly forcing those people to pick sides. That's a hefty price to pay; losing your better half and your friends.
Deirdre: Ugh. Readers, what say you? Are the rewards of dating someone you work with worth the risks?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Alisha! It's Moriah (remember me?)! I read your blog all the time! I agree whole hartedly that you shouldn't date your co-workers, unless of course, both of you can be adults if there are any problems, which isn't very likely... My husband (yeah, Alisha, I got married!) and I could easily start a business with our professions (engineer and architect), but so far choose not to. We've decided to focus on "us" when we're at home. It's just too hard to keep a relationship going well normally. When you also throw work and a business between you, there's definitely going to be a problem.

Anonymous said...

I’ve had experience on both sides of this discussion. I’ve dated people that I have worked with and I would say it ultimately depends on the maturity and level-headedness of the people involved. Some have been fine but some not so much. Before about a year and a half ago when I began dating a man in my department I would have said “just leave it alone, it’s not worth the drama”, but meeting him changed all that. He not only worked in the same department but actually sat at the desk directly in front of me. Talk about close quarters! The fact that we did spend so much time together and found that we had similar interests is what drew us close to one another in the first place. He is now my husband and I don’t regret any of my decisions for one second. We now work for separate companies but it wasn’t due to any relationship related issues. Although we both agree that it is refreshing not to look the others way and wonder if that person that’s been chatting with them at their desk for the last 15 minutes has an ulterior motive or if it’s strictly business related. Ultimately our relationship is healthier now that we don’t witness every little detail of each others lives. It also helps to create an otherwise non-existent point of conversation when we come together at the end of the day. We have a chance to miss one another a little bit now, and besides every now and then a little mystery about your significant others world outside of the world you share together may be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

picking sides???? are u in kindergarten? this is work, not a playground. grow up

Anonymous said...

I work at a law firm. I'd rather be alone my whole life than date a lawyer........

Anonymous said...

Dating your co-workers does leave a chance for your workplace to become a kindergarten playground. I don't know why, but when you start dating someone from work, you're very likely to become the object of gossip, might as well be on the cover of US Weekly, so many people butt in. Because of that, I stay away from dating co-workers now, mainly because of everyone else in the office... they can sometimes create the pressure.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh amore... I'm a hopeless romantic. I think we don't choose who we fall in love with. Chemistry or whatever you call it strikes and you have to answer its call. There are couples of all kinds at work, not sure what anyone can do about it.

Anonymous said...

I've been romantically involved with co-workers in the past,but these relationships never worked out. After being hit with a "sexual harassment" complaint from a co-worker I was interested in several years ago.I decided after that sorid episode, I really needed to develop an entire life outside of work to broaden my dating prospects. My life has grown much richer without resorting to dating co-workers, it's not worth the extra professional drama.

Anonymous said...

I didn't believe in dating anyone I worked with, that is, until two years ago, when I developed a crush on my supervisor at my last job. Nothing happened between us during the time I worked there, and we remain friends even now. But there was still drama back then, because of the way people talk, and because he was very good looking, and other women were interested in him as well. I work somewhere else now, and it is refreshing to just concentrate on my job and be strictly business, or just friendly, at work. I know couples who met at work and are now happily married; as for me, I will stick to finding romance outside the job.

Anonymous said...

I agree that conveinence is key with office relationships. With life as crazy as it is, it seems difficult to have the time to look outside the bubble of the workplace for other prospects. This same issue can also come up with friends. Is it healthy to have best friends in the workplace? Can your best friends really be your coworkers? What if your friend becomes your boss? I found a great article about this on the the savvymiss.com website! Check it out! There are a lot of similar issues involved! http://www.savvymiss.com/career-woman/career-advice/on-the-job-archive/article/the-monday-friday-friend-276/news-browse/2.html

Vivienne said...

I think dating a co-worker is a bad idea. I witnessed thistype of scenario not too long ago and in the end somebody ends up resigning.

Anonymous said...

I should have gone to this site before I "hooked up" with one of my co-workers. We ended on a good note, but it happen so recently that he seems to think he can get away with stuff when it deals with me.When I complain, he thinks Im just angry because we broke things off, when it's really he's not doing what he's supposed to. So from now on, when I get a new job, I'll know DON'T DATE A CO-WORKER!!!

Anonymous said...

I am 14 years older with the individual i got to be friends with. He had always like me but he was marreid. We always had lunch and when he finaly divorce he would invite me out. I just had gotton out of relationship and needed someone to talk to. So I took his offer. Nothing ever really became because I decided he was to young. I go a promotion in the department he worked in and he trained me. He did not treat me well and it was very uncomfortable. Within month he was promoted to my supervisor. He has mistreated me and has humiliated me with the department we work in. I feel that getting involved with someone at work wether it is platonic or romantically is not a good decision. I am still be taunted by this man and mistreated. I don't know how to handle the situation. I have been with my company 10 years and feel he is waiting to find something to fire me on. From this experince I feel that I will lose my job eventually. He has not been very professional either. He is very intimidating and I feel hopeless. There is defintely a confict of interest. Should I go to Human Resources or let him find a reason to fire me and walk away from a bad experience. He treats me like an idiot and has literally has said that to fellow coworkers that are very fond of him. I don't feel he is handling this very maturely and I have not mention anything to anyone. I am asking for advise because it has gotton very unconfortable. Please provide me with advise if you know how I can handle this.