Once upon a time two coworkers met and fell in love.
This is no fairy tale. As surprising as it may sound, people at work don’t just cease to have emotions while laboring away at their workplace tasks all the time.
Not quite like what the great Bard had to say, but…
…if you prick them, do they not bleed?
If you tickle them, do they not laugh?
If they leave before happy hour, do they not hit a bar?
Of course they do. And sometimes a few of them just happen to get hit by Cupid’s weapon of choice.
On a side note someone should have really reconsidered handing a bow-arrow set to a little baby and play matchmaker. Yes sure, leave it to someone who is not old enough to date!
Moving on to the topic, at hand, workplace romance. Is it a good or a bad idea? Well of course we are not going to talk about the myriad ways two people meet and how the song and dance of attraction and wooing takes place? You can go to Netflix Browse/Romance for any reference. And if you are a complete novice, here’s a quick summary. Girl meets boy, they sneak a glance, they flirt a bit, follow each other on every social media and then the camera cuts to two flowers leaning in (read between the lines)!!
But what happens after that? What happens once the initial flirtations move to something serious? How can something so completely personal, impact your professional life? And should you be aware of what the pros and cons are, before you ignore us anyway and ask her out on a date?
Let’s don on the angry stern-dad hat of, say, Amrish Puri and talk about the cons first.
Ever wondered why celebrities are always complaining about prying people invading their privacy? Well if you are dating your coworker, you will get your brush with fame. Not that you will suddenly find yourself featured on page 3 but you will certainly be the hot topic of discussion. And if that is not embarrassing enough, try letting your relationship evolve under the curious scrutiny of your coworkers. Much like a reality show, without all the sponsors.
It may even harm your credibility, unfortunately. People would have already ventured into gossiping about your very personal details, harming your professional relationship with them.
And good luck trying to hide it from everyone. Pretty soon you won’t know that they know you know they know!! (Seen any Friends lately?)
Things may be going really fine for you two but if one of you is the boss of the other, at work that is, then you should be prepared to get the stink eye from your buddies. No ones’ going to confide in you anymore about work troubles. You are with the other side now! Well, just put yourself in their shoes and see if it is hard to ignore the possibilities of getting special favors from the bossman.
And if everyone around assumes that your success is somehow related to you getting the best projects or reviews, then you will not be able to shake it off. Your success will always be attributed to your superior’s favoritism. Wouldn’t matter that you were probably given harder tasks just ‘coz your partner didn’t want to seem to be playing favorites. Always boils down to an image. This is society, people. Perceptions speak louder than facts.
You will be together at home. You will be together on your way to work. You will be together at work. And you will probably take the bus back, yet again, together. The only time you can possibly get any time alone without your partner, would be when you take refuge somewhere secluded. Would you really want your own space reduced to a 3X3 bathroom stall?
Unfortunate as it is, no relationship comes with a lifetime warranty. In fact if anything, we are always pleasantly surprised to hear how long someone has been in one. How wonderful! It will be thirteen days, fifteen hours and seventeen minutes of you two together. Awww!
And then, as is the fate of many, you may find yourself heartbroken and dreading meeting your ex everyday at the lobby, at the elevator, inside the elevator, in the cafe, in meetings and if you are really really unlucky, working for him/her. You can only hope for the best outcome to be an awkward silence.
If it is severe enough, your expired office romance could possibly cause you to slack off. You may be tempted to call in sick, be distracted and not surprisingly, it will affect your career.
And what if the break up is nasty enough that one of you decides to take it up with, say, HR, for a transfer? Won’t that be a joy to handle after putting in weeks worth of work in a project or client?
Talk about collateral damage!
And just because we are not really against a good happy story, we would also like to point out all the happy things that can come out of a workplace relationship.
So here’s taking off the stern-dad hat and letting you go. Jaa Simran! Jee le apni zindagi!!
Yeah! That almost never happens unless you can’t wait to see that special someone. Imagine being on a 10 hour long date from Monday to Friday, every week. What is that saying that goes something like having your cake and eat it too? This is what it is for. Getting your work done while enjoying your time there too!
And hey! If anything your productivity might just go up ‘coz now you are the star of the office, putting in as many hours as you possibly can. Why would you want to go home and watch Tv when you can be finishing that report while stealing a coy glance every now and then?
Nope! This time you know the guy. You know his friends at work. You know his boss. You even know that if he claims to play the guitar, he doesn’t actually mean that he knows how to swing it like a bat.
You have worked with him for some time and dating him won’t be a disaster like the first date you had with the nose digger.
This time familiarity might just breed content!
Your relationship could be the trusting platform to learn from each other. In fact you may communicate better working on a project, together. You may even have a better understanding in sharing the tasks for an expedient completion of the project. Won’t that be a great way to further your career goals while becoming more sound in your relationship? (Read how interpersonal skills are crucial for career growth).
Together they are the recipe for happiness. Almost anyone who has a job is struggling to maintain a work life balance (read signs that you have become a corporate slave). On an average you spend between 50 hours, to an eternity, at your job. The quality and quantity of time, with your loved ones, is usually compromised. Your workplace relationship could provide a healthy mix of your personal and professional life (read how this married couple managed their MBA life together).
Your story could be similar or way different. But now that you know the possible drawbacks and upsides of office romance and letting your work life get tangled with your heart, we can only wish you to be content in whatever you decide.
Either you let the initial attraction settle down rather quickly, thus avoiding all the mess that may ensue. Or you let your heart take over and hope that your office relationship outlasts your retirement.
Whatever you decide, we will wish that your story ends on a happy note. Relationship or not, may it read, they worked happily ever after.