When you are working closely with someone day after day, especially if your lovelife outside the work is non-existent and your daily life consists of going to work and coming home to sleep, it is no wonder you might get tied up in a romantic relationship with a co-worker.
Workplace relationships can get rather complicated very quickly, but the most complex romantic situation you can get into is falling for your boss. So what to do if you have started a romantic relationship with someone you work for, the feelings are mutual and the relationship is hot and steamy? Does the relationship threaten your career or vice versa?
Why is an office relationship considered to be a taboo?
The main reason behind many companies banning any romantic relations between employees is the potentially corrupt attitude it sets in the company. It’s almost impossible to keep your feelings aside so if there is a decision to be made and let’s say your boss has to choose between you and another employee, it is almost certain the choice will be you because of your “situation”.
Relationships between co-workers will result in numerous compromising situations and decisions that weren’t made objectively, resulting in consequences like losses in profits, damages to the company’s moral profile etc. It can also disrupt the relationships between other employees who might feel they are not “favored”, hence they feel they might be left out or treated differently than the person who’s in a relationship.
If the relationship should turn out to end negatively, it is no doubt it will add a dark cloud on any communication between you two. You can bet a break-up won’t be a matter left between you and your ex-partner – it will become a problem of the whole office since problematic relationships between co-workers can affect any teamwork that should be done.
No company wants to start a never-ending gossip ride, since it will take the concentration off the actual goals – work! Instead, people will be too caught up on hearing the latest “juicy gossip” and will waste valuable time that could otherwise be spent on doing a great job.
Transparency, credibility, fairness and favoritism – these are the main concerns that any company’s HR has, therefore a relationship between co-workers, especially an employer and an employee, is a matter of the whole company.
How to maintain a romantic relationship with your boss, without threatening your career?
Now that we have warned you about the possible problems that you two might go through, there is a good news: as you cannot force the heart to stop loving someone & if the feelings are mutual, there are some ways you guys can make it work.
It won’t be an easy ride, but to help you out a bit in this rather awkward and a bit problematic situation, here are some ground rules & tips to help you out.
- Keep it between the two of you. Of course you’d like to shout out to the world, change your Facebook status and post steamy pictures to Instagram, but the less people at work know about your relationship, the better. If others don’t know about it, there is no way anyone can accuse you of “taking advantage” or your boss treating you any differently than the others. If your relationship goes really serious, maybe you are even thinking about starting a life together, it will be appropriate to “come out” with your relationship, but until you are not 100% sure it will lead to something permanent, it will be easier for everyone if you keep it in a secret for a while to reduce risks at work.
- Get things straight right away. Though this is advice for any time of relationships really, it applies to office relationships especially strongly. Before setting any expectations in your relationship, talk to your partner and “have the talk” – make it clear whether it is a casual fling which may or may not occur in the future or you are comitting to a more serious relationship. That way you’ll avoid an ugly break-up and you’ll know exactly what to expect from your future.
- Expect the worst. This doesn’t sound very good, but as it is a very risky relationship and there is a lot more at stake than a broken heart, you should think about the worst scenarios. What will happen if you two break up, especially if the breakup is not friendly? What will the office environment be like? How will you resolve tensions that will come between you two? It’s important to figure out for your own good what will you do after the worse-case-scenario comes true – will you move on to another company or can you manage the emotions without them affecting your job?
- Separate personal and work life. You might think this piece of advice is a bit overdue since you’ve already acrossed the line of keeping lovelife and worklife separately, but the key here lies in keeping your emotions separate. If you are at work, you have to concentrate on your job – there is no place for “secret touches”, flirtation etc. Those things belong outside the work. It might be really hard to manage this at first, but it is essential for keeping both your career and lovelife problem free.
- Don’t slack. Even if co-workers are not aware of your situation and are not accusing you of lower performance due to the relationship you have, it doesn’t mean you should give yourself some slack with your work tasks. Even if your partner is treating you more gently, is generous and doesn’t want to push you into doing more, you have to keep your work standard the same nevertheless. Treat yourself like your own worst boss and slap yourself on the wrist if you are scrolling through Facebook instead of putting your full concentration on the assignments.
Here is a quick overview that you can always check back and be sure you are on the right path:
- No flirting and sweet talk while you are at work.
- Don’t slack and do your job as always – don’t lower your performance and standards.
- Do your work at worktime, make love on free time – keep the relationship strictly separate and draw a strict line.
- Make it clear from the start where the relationship is heading – is it a fling or a permanent thing.
- If you are not completely sure on the relationship being permanent, don’t spread the news all over the workplace. Keep it quiet.
- Be prepared for the worst case scenario.
- If possible, move to another department so you won’t have to worry about dating your boss.
Dating your boss is risky, yet truly exciting so there is no shame if the relationship between two of you has lead to more than just work related lunches. Keep in mind the risks, make everything clear from the start and be prepared for if you two should go separate ways.