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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Dating at work: the good, the bad, the ugly

Sanya Panwar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 28, 2014
First Published: 16:58 IST(28/4/2014) | Last Updated: 17:55 IST(28/4/2014)

Workplace flings can be fun and sometimes successful too. But there are many things to consider - both positive and negative - before taking the plunge into an office romance.
 
So, where's the line between friendship and dating? If you start seeing someone in office, who can you confide in? Should you try to keep it a secret? What if someone finds out? Is being honest about it from the get-go a better tactic? What are the consequences of breaking up with a colleague?

These points are critical, especially, if you want to advance in your career. Read on for the pros and cons of an office romance.
 
The good...

As with most new relationships, the real excitement comes in the early stages: the flirting, the glances, the playful jokes. These certainly bring joy to a long, hard day at office.

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Perfect start to the day: You can't wait to wake up and go to work. After all you'll get to see your cutie all decked up in the office attire, complete with a cheery smile when he/she sees you walk in, perhaps even a little 'good morning' peck on the cheek (in private, of course).

Boost of excitement in your life: So your guy/girl is an office hottie. Chances are you'll feel and act like one yourself. You are on the top of the world, and couldn't care less about others in office.
 
You have meals together and have someone to confide in: An otherwise boring office lunch can magically turn into an intimate lunch date complete with flirting and romance. During the private time, you'll always have something to talk about as you live and breathe the same workspace. You can be there for each other when either of you needs to blow off some steam about work-related problems.
 
The bad...

With the good comes the bad. But in a relationship, bad is not just bad, it's really bad, it's horrible. Imagine: mood swings, jealousy, boss trouble, office gossip and more. Office romances have some big drawbacks.

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Too much of each other: Constant contact can also cause friction in an office romance. Which couple doesn't have a tiff?  That cold, hard glare she/he lets off can really burn a hole right through the back of your brain, especially when you're neck deep in work. It's not easy avoiding each other in office, especially in a small one. Attempting to ignore each other till things get better is virtually impossible.
 
She's screwed, you're screwed, and vis-à-vis: When things aren't going your way at work, the last thing you need is pressure stemming from your office flame. Worse, if she/he is having a bad day, guess who's first in line to hear all about it all day at work, then some more after work?
 
More of her/him, less of others, and you're the office outsiders: The more private time you spend together during office hours (and afterwards) the more likely you are of beginning to alienate your other office mates. Distancing yourself from your immediate associates, especially those you have a personal relationship with, is trouble in the long run.
 
Get close, and you're busted: Office gossip is one mean thing. If you're caught in an act of intimacy during office hours, be rest assured, your professional image has suffered a severe blow. Not pleasant in the least.

The ugly...

Not all office relationships work out. The beauty of a normal breakup, which is clearly missing in an office fling, is that you no longer have to see the other person post calling it quits.

So, dating at work can be a recipe for disaster. Here's how.

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The power games: Dating a colleague (someone who enjoys the same status at work as you) is not the same as dating a subordinate or a boss. While competition and rivalry may harm your relationship with a co-worker, dating a boss may make you the butt of (false) accusations of favouritism. Getting romantically involved with a subordinate, on the other hand, can also raise some serious questions on the issue of sexual harassment.
 
Settling the scores: If you're the one who ended it, then she/he might want to make you pay. She/he might try making your work life hell and even go the extreme way and try to get you fired, one way or another. Think about it, if it's the other way around, and she/he is the one who ended it, you might attempt to seek revenge of your own. This can seriously harm your work performance.

Chinese whispers: If you gossiped about co-workers with her/him or badmouthed your present/future boss during your good times together, be rest assured, those comments are coming back to haunt you. Which, quite clearly isn't the case anymore. In fact, she/he quite likely is closer to others now.
 
Moving on: What's worse, jealousy can take its toll when you see her/him flirting with other colleagues, going on lunch dates and ultimately living a life again, one that has no place for you. And that's going to hurt...
 
So there you have it. Unless you honestly think you can juggle your career and relationship at the same time, in the same space - the office - you might do yourself a favour by considering the potential outcomes, before beginning such a relationship.


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