Are office romances okay?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am currently working in a contract position that is due to end in the not too distant future and will begin looking for a new job in two to three weeks. I have done a casual search of the jobs that I am qualified for now that I have more experience. One of the companies that is advertising several positions is the same company that my boyfriend (let’s call him Alex) works for. Alex and I would likely end up working on the same floor. His team supports the back end of the data systems I may end up using, so we would likely have at least some contact on the job.

What do you think is the best way to go about applying to these jobs? Alex can’t give a professional recommendation, as we haven’t worked together. I feel that him forwarding my name to the hiring manager may seem like a boyfriend trying to get his girlfriend a job, without really considering the best interests of the company. I could also see the company worrying that he and I will break up and cause drama in the office. That could push the company to disregard my application and hire someone without that potential baggage. I have also considered applying without using this insider advantage, but that doesn’t seem to solve any problems, as I feel this information should be disclosed quickly.

What can I do to assure the company that Alex and I will maintain a professional relationship while working together and that we are both mature enough to maintain that professional relationship in the case of a breakup?

To read the answer click here: Are office romances okay?

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9 thoughts on “Are office romances okay?

  1. Good advice, but no, I don’t work with people I’m dating or date people at work. No no no no no. I did that once like twenty years ago, and never again. He ended up married to another coworker, which would have totally sucked, but I liked her enough to let it go (plus, we all had mutual friends). Now they’re divorced and she’s one of my best friends. Ha!

    1. For me it would depend on the size of the company and how much contact I would have. I’ve worked for 2 companies that had 30,000+ employees and there were zillions of married couples and I have no idea about dating, because that didn’t show up in my databases.

      Not a problem. Heck one of my bosses was married to another employee. They didn’t see each other during the day often and didn’t even commute together.

      But, if it’s a 10 person company, then that’s too close!

  2. I seriously warn against doing this. The married guy in from of me and another gal who is also married are literally having an affair as I write this. I see her in his cubby all the time. I see them go to lunch together and leave for the day. She has admitted to another gal they are sleeping together.
    Although you and your guy might be the epitome of grace throughout the day, people will talk once they find out. People will think all sorts of stuff right or wrong about you and your guy.
    What if someone says your guy is a jerk? What if some other gal thinks your guy is hot and wants him? What if someone says to him your work stinks? Or you are a pain to work with? Are you going to go in protection mode?

    The same guy above has another gal that stomps away ticked as heck when she can’t talk to him because his lover is in his cubby and she wants him too. What a lovely site to see walking down the aisle getting a print out.

    Regardless that it is none of anyone’s business what these 2 do, the reality is they have made it the talk of the office. It is distracting to the rest of us. My friend didn’t need to hear they are sleeping together. (she sits in front of him).
    Human nature dictates that people will talk. People will assume things right or wrong. I really urge you not to do this.

    1. People won’t really care if single person A is dating single person B. That’s what single people do. What makes it the topic of discussion at your office is that neither participant is single.

      Affairs are more gossip inducing then plain, old, dating.

  3. Consider the professional economics. What potential professional upside is there to participating in a romance with a coworker. What potential downside is there? In the vast majority of cases, I think, the potential downside is much greater than the upside.

    Why voluntarily engage in behavior with such risk to one’s career?

  4. I’m a legal assistant in my company of 100 people and a few months back started dating the network admin. The only question people had for us was, “What took you so long?” because he and I had been close friends for two years prior. We don’t work in the same department, we don’t see each other during the day except for a 20-minute walk at lunch off the company property, and we certainly don’t discuss confidential matters either of us is privy to. If you are professional at work, no one will care. It’s the people who have sex in bathrooms that cause the issues.

  5. Size does matter…
    I was a divisional HR Manager of a larger company and dated a woman in Marketing, no crossing professionally and no issues came from it.

    Now I’m sole HR Manager of a smaller company and am very careful to keep working relationships only on a professional level.

  6. This is a great topic. I used to have a strict belief that dating in the office was bad juju. Somehow though, that belief faded somewhere down the line and today I am happily married to my husband, whom I met on the job. We were co-working friends for about 5 years before we started dating. Looking all makes sense that I would find love on the job. I mean, that was where the majority of my time was spent! But it may not work for everyone, that’s for sure.

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