Topic of the Week Rolling in the deep
- Research company policies.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Keep it secret. Really?
- Don't date your boss.
According to a recent study by CareerBuilder.com, 38% of us have dated someone at work. With 28% of us dating someone above us in the chain of command and 18% dating our boss. Which reminds me of Melissa McGlone of Alexandria, VA. When her relationship ended via a text message she was hurt and upset. She was concerned that she'd try to contact the guy, so she turned to the Ex-App to block his phone number, text and email from her phone. Not blocking him from contacting her, but preventing her from contacting him in a moment of weakness.
If only it were that simple to avoid an ex-lover at work. But when you work with a former partner, it's often a much more complicated situation. That's why it's so important to review the following four step process the next time you think about sending a valentine to someone who you work with.
Research company policies. Don't even think of flirting, or responding to a flirt, until you've checked out your company policy on dating. Some companies have explicit policies about who you can't date while others have no policy at all. Do your homework.
Begin with the end in mind. This is the dating variation on the classic observation by Steven Covey. With approximately half of all marriages in America ending in divorce, it is important to look past the honeymoon phase to think about what would happen if you break off the romantic relationship. Because the odds are that will end. If you think work is tough now, imagine having your livelihood depending on maintaining a working relationship with a spurned lover. Or even worse a spurned boss. Chances are if you think rationally about this you will avoid dating people at work. Which is the main reason that I wrote this column.
Keep it secret. Really? The survey also found that 37% of us try to keep our romantic relationship at work a secret from coworkers. Really? Remember many of your coworkers are constantly on the lookout for things to gossip about, do you really think something as juicy as a relationship between two cube mates will be overlooked? And think of how many secrets you know about concerning your coworkers.
Don't date your boss. I have three words for anyone considering dating someone below them in the chain of command. Sexual harassment and favoritism. You can not only get sued by your former partner, but you can also get sued by others who believe that you showed favoritism.
There are many reasons why more of us are dating people at work: that's who we're around most of the day, these are people who understand our work pressures and its so easy to carpool. But with so many online dating sites out there today, even if you are a total workaholic, there is no reason to dating people where you work. My suggestion, don't wait for an app, just avoid dating at work.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.