Danger Zone: Avoiding The Interoffice Romance

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Looking like a magazine cut-out, your new colleague comes in with a basket full of papers, a stapler, some stationary, and a little plant, only to sit down in the cubicle next to you as the new recruit on the team. Can you sense the temptation building? After five minutes of heavy sweating and hot flashes I realize, okay, I like him… In fact I love him. Your head drifts away and you start planning your lunch breaks together, your drab work week becomes all exciting in your head, and suddenly you're ready to have an office affair with the newbie. Stop for a moment. Ask yourself one key question: What happens if you break up? That question right there is exactly why you shouldn't date someone you work with! Not yet convinced? Let me elaborate on why you should avoid dating your colleague at all costs:


1. Close quarters If you break up, it'll be awkward. Depending on the size of the company you work at, the smaller the office, the more awkward the end of this liaison will be. Sorry to burst your bubble so soon, but you gotta face the facts. If you run into them by the water cooler or downstairs in the parking lot, it'll suck for the both of you.

2. Territorial claims If he or she starts to like someone else on the team, you'll want to kill them both. Even if you didn't really like them all that much, seeing them with someone else from the office will pique your curiosity (and not in a good way). Your lunch breaks will involve you stalking the new couple all around the premises… this is not cool, nor is it okay. The green-eyed monster is a difficult look to hide.

3. Upward and onward If the object of your affections gets a promotion, you'll want to quit. Seeing an ex do better than you is deadly, especially if they're in the same field and you were at parallel career-levels. Things might get really weird if the colleague turned ex gets promoted to a senior position managing you. The same can be said if you get promoted above your ex.

4. Overexposure The relationship has an expiry date. Being in constant close contact with your partner day-in day-out will set your romantic endeavor up for failure. Not having enough space to meet new people, and make new friends, will bore one of you (or both of you) easily. Why even bother? Keep your personal life separate from the get-go.

As much as dating a colleague may seem 007-ish and fun, it can get messy pretty quickly. Make sure you avoid that office romance for the security of your career. You need to remember is that it's a minefield of disappointment waiting to happen, and when the inevitable happens, you'll not only be dealing with hurt feelings, you'll also be affected at work.