So many of our favorite TV shows include an office romance as a central point of interest. Sit-coms like The Office, Parks & Recreation, and Brooklyn 99 feature one or more intra-office pairings that are endearing, romantic, and entertaining, and the same goes for dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and Bones. With such a ubiquitous story arch in all of our media, surely that means that the office is the best place to find a soulmate, right? Well, maybe. We don’t need to remind you that life is not a TV show, and things often don’t work out the way they do in media. But does that mean the office isn’t a good place to find a partner? Not necessarily.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of that steamy office romance.
It Can Be So Nice…
It makes sense to develop a crush at work. If you work full time, you spend at least 40 hours each week in your workplace. For a lot of us, it can feel like there isn’t enough time in a week to go out and meet people. When Tinder is getting you down and you want to meet people “in real life,” but you’re also working full time, how do you find eligible bachelors/bachelorettes?
Well, to make things easy, maybe you look around your office. You probably see the same set of people every week, and you develop a bond and inside jokes with your co-workers. There are people you like and don’t like at the office because there’s a good chance that you’ve gotten to know the people around the workplace. You’ve seen them at their just-nailed-that-presentation best and their 20-minutes-late-without-coffee worst. So the people that you like, you like.
Dating someone at work also means that you have something in common. Your partner understands your daily stresses and can share in jokes about copy machines or a boss’ antics. Having this understanding can make the relationship feel easier because there’s less you have to explain. You two can connect on at least one significant aspect of your lives.
…But at What Cost?
With work something you can easily talk about and a major thing that you and your partner have in common, there is a risk that work becomes all you connect on. A good goal in life is to leave work at work, but having a partner who works at the same company as you can mean that you two spend hours talking about the shenanigans around the office or start bouncing ideas off of each other. These are great conversations to have for a little while, but you have to be careful that you don’t spend too much of your time talking about work. Quarterly projections are a great way to kill the romance.
Also keep in mind that while you and your partner are talking about office gossip, there is a good chance that you will become office gossip. The people that you both spend 40 hours each week with will almost definitely have an opinion on your relationship, and they are likely to share that opinion with the people around them. Gossip can get especially powerful if you and your partner try to keep your relationship on the DL instead of being up front about it. Coming forward will give you the opportunity to control the narrative.
More relevant to your employment itself is the opinion of your bosses. Sneaking around with your partner is never a good idea. Supervisors will find such behavior disrespectful and suspect. Keep in mind that it’s important for bosses to understand the dynamics in the office so they can effectively manage the team. However, some organizations actually have policies against co-workers dating. If this is the case at your office, you and your (potential) partner will have to carefully consider what you want and what you’ll do.
Relationships fall under two categories: those that last forever, and those that don’t. If your relationship with your co-worker ends up being the latter, things can get pretty awkward at the workplace. It might seem pessimistic, but it’s a good idea to enter relationships with the understanding that they might end and what those endings would mean. In the case of a co-worker, you two will have to see each other at the office after you break up. If it was an acrimonious separation, that could make things uncomfortable for you and the rest of your co-workers. Is that something you could handle professionally?
Is it Worth It?
The truth is that no blog will be able to tell you whether a relationship with your co-worker will be “worth it.” All we can do is point out that the fact that you work together makes finding each other easier and separating much more difficult. And anyway, when you catch feelings for someone, logic often goes out the window
This blog advises that you be very careful when entering a relationship with a co-worker. It can complicate your work life, and it can mean that your job starts to permeate other parts of your life. Make sure that the person you’re thinking about dating is someone very special because, while you don’t want a relationship to sour your career, you don’t want to regret missing an opportunity for love, either.
Petite2Queen provides virtual mentoring to young women in life, at work, and in sales. Follow us for more practical advice you can put to use to improve your life and career.
Rachel Whitbeck is the Director of Content at Petite2Queen. She is working towards her PhD in Sociology at the University of Limerick in Ireland. Rachel uses her experience in writing, editing, and research to develop content that appeals to and is reflective of the diverse millennial woman.