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18 Dec

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Hooking Up With a Coworker: What You Need to Consider

18 Dec

playing footsies

Last week we started discussing the ups and many downs of dating a coworker. Sure, there are benefits to being able to swoon at work over your new significant other. There are also the drawbacks of having to see them if the relationship falls apart. Nothing like trying to hold back your tears in a meeting with him and the rest of the office the day after you’ve been dumped for the new girl in the cafeteria.

Some of you might not be swayed by the heartache, public humiliation, and potential joblessness that may be a result of a tawdry romp in the copy room with that hotty hot new employee that knows how to wear his suit just right. If you decide that your coworker is just too good to pass up, here are some things you’ll want to take into consideration before proceeding:

  1. Are you both on the same page?  Sometimes you’re not quite sure what the other person is thinking.  Is he asking you out because he wants to get to know you better and potentially pursue something more?  Or is he asking you out because you look hot in that skirt and he wants to see it crumbled up in a heap on his bedroom floor?  Dating can be hard enough; it’s even more difficult at work.  If you’re taking the leap, you better be sure that you both are very clear on what you both want.  Communication is key here.  If you jump into this and one of you wants something more than the other, it can make your work life a living hell.  Go ahead and try to get your project completed when the one you’ve spurned is the one responsible for delivering some of the key information that you need.  Let me know how that turns out.
  2. Loose lips sink ships.  I’m a girl.  I have a big mouth.  So big that the free world knows about it when I have a new love interest.  This doesn’t work in the office.  The last thing that your boss wants to hear is that you just slept over at your coworker’s for the first time and he made you breakfast.  What do you think your boss is going to start wondering the next time he sees you talking to him by the water cooler?  “Are they getting their work done or are they too busy playing grab ass?” that’s what your boss is thinking.  Until you know the status of the relationship, keep it to yourselves.  That means that you need to:
  3. Validate your coworker can keep a secret. There’s a young man that works in my office who is divine.  He is truly a gift from God and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  He uses his good looks and charm to get into the pants of all the good looking new girls.  How do I know?  Because he can’t keep his mouth shut.  Know the sad part?  These girls don’t know that he’s running off his mouth about how they all moaned his name at one point or other.  I’m sure they’ll have a wonderful time trying to get promoted when their boss is too busy picturing them in flagrante with this “gentlemen.”  These girls were too swept away by his charms to do their homework.  As fiery hot as this guy is, I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole because I don’t want it broadcast to everyone in the office. 
  4. Perception is critical.  It can be very difficult to establish yourself as a credible professional in your organization.  It doesn’t matter whether you did something or not.  What matters is what other people – especially those that have the power to dictate the future of your career – believe that you did.  Is it BS?  Sure it is, but guess what?  That’s too bad.  It’s the way things are and you, along with everyone else, has to learn to deal with it.  All of this gets so foggy when you find someone that you want to be with.  You have to keep this in the back of your mind: if the coworker walks away, what are you left with and what are people going to think about you? 

Dating is always risky business.  If it wasn’t, then there wouldn’t be Romeo and Juliet; Pride & Prejudice; Bridget Jones; blah, blah, etc. snore. The key point to remember is that when you date someone you work with you are potentially risking your career and/or your professional appearance.  In some cases, it’s worth the risk.  I have plenty of friends that met their spouses at work.  I also have plenty of friends that have found themselves cleaning up a sorry mess after a relationship with a coworker went straight into the toilet.

Consider yourselves warned.

What else do you think is important to consider before getting involved with a coworker?