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Office Romance; is it Worth it?

The workplace can be a dull place. The drone of workstations and the shuffling of papers can be mind-numbing. For people to retain their sanity there must be some form of excitement. Sometimes, it comes in the form of water dispenser banter, practical jokes, and amusing superior (or a frightening one, you never know what tickles people’s fancy). There are a few things as interesting as a workplace romance. You get to have a partner-in-crime as it were, with whom to do stuff with. You can discuss random ideas during the lunch break or between tasks. You have someone to cover for you in case you can’t do a certain task. And in the evenings, when you’re both free, you can easily plot for a fun night out. It’s all very welcome until it starts crossing into slippery territory.

Jane works in the finance department. She’s lively and friendly and her personality is nothing short of magnetic. People tend to just loiter around her office just to get a glimpse of her every now and then. However, she normally sashays over to the IT department where Francis works. In his little AC-filled office, Francis is always on hand to respond to queries concerning employee networks. These regular visits involve a lot of waiting around until the issue is resolved. So, they pass the time talking. Eventually, whether it was intended or not, they develop feelings for each other and the visits become more frequent. Then they become more romantic in nature. It mostly involves lengthy stares into each other’s eyes as they mentally enact what each of them is thinking. But since it’s the workplace, the status quo must be respected. However, it soon becomes the norm for Francis to be seen making a cup of tea for Jane, or Jane bringing Francis a fruit salad in the morning.

The above scenario goes to show you that you might not be above office romance, as we know it. The thing about office romance is that it’s nearly impossible to hide. But it’s also difficult (for employers) to address. Their main concern is normally that the tension between the two parties might affect their work output. If that doesn’t happen, then they hope things won’t be set on fire if things don’t go well. Besides that, the workplace is not comfortable with displays of affection. Or unwarranted jealousy in case a third party is involved. It’s like the thing that everyone knows and occasionally talks about, but as long as it doesn’t directly affect others, it won’t be a problem.

However some workplaces have strict rules against that sort of behavior, and those rules should be respected. Be sure to read your contract and don’t get on the HR’s bad side. We all know how that might not end well. You might even choose to ignore what your contract explicitly stated and carry on with an undercover operation but be sure to answer this question; When caught (because it will come out), are you ready to leave this job for another, if he/she isn’t? As ultimatums are bound to be given! If your answer is NO, then that romance can be nurtured elsewhere.

Your workplace may be one of the ‘cooler’ ones and no one will stand in the way of something as beautiful as “LOVE” or romance, as it were. There are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about walking down that bright path!

  1. Can you compartmentalize? Are you mature enough to separate official work hours, resources, and emotions from the personal? We wouldn’t want your appraisal assessment to have claims of incompetence because one was at a different work station than where they should have been one too many times.
  2. Can you forgive and forget? Or are you one to call upon a clan-full of haters upon your unforeseen wrongdoer? Not to burst your bubble or anything but we’ve been around long enough to know that one may or may not attempt many relationship(s) before one works out perfectly. If you can’t be adult about disagreements, save self and your colleagues the petty-ugly drama of a break-up.
  3. Can you get past the coworkers asking you where so-and-so is and what happened to them? Are you able to respond to uncomfortable questions with civil politeness? Remember this situation isn’t about you handling your business; it’s about others trying to make it theirs. If the answer was yes, then you will be able to trudge through the day without anybody getting hurt by stationery being thrown in their direction.

Workplace relation(ship)s are the spice in the otherwise bland exercises most of us call jobs. They are what get people excited to be in office, and keep a smile on their faces all day long. Who says you can’t be happy at work? At least as long as work gets done, there’s no harm and no foul, right?