Why Office Dating May Be More Dangerous in This Economy
The vagaries of the circumstances surrounding
Executives today are much more sensitive to employee decision-making that may suggest they're distracted -- that they aren't 100 percent focused on the company's goals, says
While some 60 percent of workers have taken a shot at some kind of workplace romance, according to a
In the case of HP Chief Executive
The executives Goldfarb has talked with are now working under the assumption that the economic doldrums are here to stay for quite a while -- that there's no apparent bright light on the horizon -- and that has made them more severe in their assessments of their staff, he says. Many face particular difficulties with their youngest employees, who tend to be the most resistant to working long hours and missing family events. They're also the least understanding of corporate culture and may wonder why a company would require them to dress more formally, why they aren't allowed to listen to their iPods during the work day, or why there would be an issue with them openly dating a coworker.
But discretion has long been critical to appropriate office dating.
If you're interested in having a successful office relationship, "conduct it way off-site," says
Office dating hasn't gotten any simpler in recent years.
Whether it's a coworker dating a manager who's making decisions about layoffs, or one partner getting the axe while the other one survives it, the recession has made this more complicated. "People are jockeying for position, and being physically involved with someone adds a layer of complication," Reeves says. "And when people are involved and one person gets laid off -- talk about a stressful situation for a relationship, never mind for the colleagues."
A more serious relationship may eventually require confiding.
When coworkers find out that two colleagues are dating and they are in the dark, there can be some resentment. For one thing, some will wonder whether they may have offended one by criticizing the other, ignorant of their relationship. If you divulge, be prepared. When relationships are disclosed, past promotions can be tainted with fresh concerns over favoritism.
Although there are many examples of successful relationships that have started at the office, they can very often leave one person (or both) hurt. The wisest workers today are aware of the judgemental, impatient, and unstable nature of the current workplace and are careful to avoid doing anything that would cause them to be viewed as not devoting their complete attention to the job, Goldfarb says.
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