The Snitch

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The Office Snitch: Office romance? No thanks.

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Office romance has made headlines again, thanks to new allegations at the BBC about co-workers knocking boots during and after office hours.

I can understand the lure of an office romance. There’s that whole impulsive risk-taking element to it that spices up an otherwise boring work day.

But despite having witnessed successful office romances – I am a product of office romance (my parents worked together for years before running off into the sunset) – I just don’t think it’s something I’d be up for.

Responding to the reports about BBC romances, novelist Jilly Cooper wrote in her book How to Survive the Nine to Five office romance is like “catching the measles”, The Telegraph reported.

“Once one director discovers another director is knocking off his secretary, he starts wondering why he shouldn’t have a bit on the side as well,” she said.

True. Another good point was made by romance novelist Jojo Moyers, who met her husband while working at the Independent.

“At work you see people at their worst as well as at their best – so you get the hung over mornings and the days when everything’s gone wrong, and not just the fully primped and preened person you might meet at the wine bar,” Moyers said.

It’s a bit like my theory about falling in love at the gym. If you’ve seen someone at the worst and still want to go home with them, then it has to be true love, right?

One of the reasons I would prefer to stay out of an office romance is simply because the office isn’t very big, people will talk, and a break up (should one happen) might make things awkward. I really don’t need someone in accounting feeling sorry for me because I broke up with that cute guy in circulation.

Another reason is the fact that I have to be with my significant other nine to five, and still have to deal with him at home. Yes, I know if its real love, you’d want to spend all your time together, but I like being able to come home and spill the ups and downs of my day with someone over a good dinner and some drinks.

I can’t really do that with someone who’s already seen (and probably was part of) what happened in the office that day.

But, if you’re convinced that boy or girl in marketing is the true love of your life, here are some tips courtesy of Forbes on how to come out of an office romance without a broken heart or too much gossip at the water cooler.

Don’t date up or down

Yes, there’s an extra thrill of dating someone you’re reporting to, or a subordinate, but you are just opening yourself up to a can of worms. Dating an employee who is reporting to you could lead to a sexual harassment charge if things ever go sour, and dating upwards would just spin the rumour mills faster.

Don’t keep it a secret

Some companies require dating colleagues to officially declare the romance and sign a “love contract” to confirm the relationship is consensual. It protects both employees and the company from complications if the relationship ends.

Keep it offline and out of sight

Avoid using your work email or IM services when sending those “I miss you xxx” and “Can’t wait for 6pm” messages. Just because you’re okay with the romance, doesn’t mean your colleagues are. Public displays of affection can make someone else in the office uncomfortable… or jealous.

Don’t date a team member

Can you imagine having to work with someone who broke your heart into a million pieces and did not reciprocate that love poem you wrote and published on Facebook? Awful. Just awful.

And here’s the biggest piece of advice on dating someone, and it comes from a source I trust – my editor, Rebecca Lewis. She met her partner at work (and they worked on the same team!) about five years ago, so she’s probably the best person to dish out some advice.

“Never, ever, act like a couple at work,” Rebecca said. “You want to be able to prove to your boss – who will find out about the relationship eventually – that having your beau at work does not affect your abilities to act professional and perform well in your job.”

She added another huge must do is to leave your personal relationship problems at the office front door.

“I knew I’d succeeded at this when a former colleague said to me, after she’d been with the company for six months, ‘Wait, you two are in a relationship? Since when?’ To her, we just looked like friendly colleagues,” she said.

So there you go. If you must fall in love at work, approach with caution. Like all relationships, it may or may not work, but at the end of the day, I’m still a romantic at heart, so carry on with the loving if you think you and your partner can manage it.

If you’ve ever been in an office romance, drop us a message. You know we always love a juicy story or two!

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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

September 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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