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6 Rules of Romance at the Office October 12, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Sex in the Workplace.
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You probably know someone who dated an officemate, is dating an officemate or may be married to one.  So can romance and work mix?  Here are some rules you might want to consider before getting involved:

Ask if it’s legal.
Some companies, believe it or not, discourage workplace hook-ups.  In others, it’s an unwritten rule.  Before you decide to break or bend it, find out if it will affect your job or workplace relationship. 

In most cases, officemates who hold jobs in the company’s check-and-balance system may not be encouraged to date.  If you’re the auditor, for example, the bookkeeper or accountant is probably off limits.  Others may also not fare well because they’re eyeing a subordinate or superior.

Keep it discreet.
Probably the most challenging type of romantic work relationship is one that exists between a higher-up and a direct subordinate.  Remember CSI’s Grissom and Sarah?  Although the chemistry was hard to miss (at least by viewers anyway), Sarah’s life had to be endangered before everyone else got wind of their romance.  Now that’s keeping it under wraps.

Why you should keep your office romance discreet is plain simple.  The workplace is rife with gossipers who just can’t wait to take a simple nod, touch or smile in order to produce an overblown story about the two of you.  If you’re in an office environment where people are cool about it or just plain don’t give a damn, then good for you.  But if you’re in a workplace where people act like rumor-hungry paparazzis and tabloid writers, go easy on the lovey-dovey ways. 

Keep your mouth shut.
Okay, so maybe you just had to tell people about the dozen roses you received or sent.  That’s probably fine, just don’t overdo it.  Avoid discussing what you and your lovey whispered about, wrote on a scented stationery (if you still do that at all) and all that supposedly-private stuff. 

And don’t talk about your dates, either.  Keep what’s private just that – private.  If you don’t, you’ll be fodder for the office rumor mill.  If you can’t keep your mouth shut, know that you open it at your own risk.

Avoid using office e-mail.
In case you want to ask an officemate out, don’t send an e-mail on your local area network or PM them.  Imagine how embarrassing that would be if someone else happened to read the e-mail or if you chose ‘All Recipients’ on the ‘Send To’ box by accident and hit the send button.

Did you get rejected?
That’s okay.  It’s someone’s loss, not yours, so don’t take it personally.  If your co-worker refuses you, take it like a man/woman and move on.  Don’t be upset, angry or vindictive.  Don’t make jokes about it either.  Like I said, it’s their loss, so shut your mouth already.

Be careful about your amorous ways.
You might think of yourself as the demonstrative sort but be careful what your words say, where your eyes stare at and where your hands go.  You could get charged with sexual harassment.  That, even if the initial response to your advances was positive.

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Comments»

1. amy - December 1, 2008

I’m doing a project on sex in the workplace for my human sexuality class. Does anyone thing the reason sex in the workplace happens so often is because we know we’re not “supposed” to do it?

2. dapinoyemployee - December 1, 2008

Hi Amy,

Thanks for dropping by. There are many reasons why sex in the workplace is so common — time, proximity and opportunity.

Time – Many of us spend about 6 to 8 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week with our colleagues. Long hours mean more familiarity, which can often lead to romantic or sexual interest.

Proximity – It’s easier to fall for a person you see and communicate with nearly everyday.

Opportunity – Since many of us find other people at work who may share the same interest, we simply act on the attraction if it’s already present.

As for the ‘we’re not supposed to do it’ part, there are quite a number of people who like the thrill of having a ‘forbidden’ (in case a company policy against office dating is in place) or risky workplace-based relationship. But they’re more the exception than the rule.


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