CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER
“To Date or Not to Date”
Tip for the day: Past performance is the best indicator of future performance.
Q: Dear Connie: I work with a guy that I would be interested in dating. What is your opinion of dating someone at work?
A: Dear Dater: The decision to date a co-worker is a personal one, but you do need to be aware of some issues that may arise from doing so. Dating relationships in the workplace can lead to some very sticky situations. Many people argue, however, that work is where they spend most of their time so the workplace may be the only place where they can meet other single adults.
You need to first look at your employee handbook to see if your company even allows employees to date one another. Many companies will not allow these types of relationships at all. Some companies may allow employees to date, but only if they work in different areas or departments of the company. Know what your company’s policy is before you decide to move forward.
You did not mention what type of working relationship you have with this individual. Are you his supervisor at work? Is he your supervisor? Dating someone who is your subordinate can open another “can of worms” altogether. There have been many cases where someone has been sued for sexual harassment after ending a relationship with a subordinate at work. Sexual harassment can be difficult to prove under these circumstances, but it is not impossible. Also, if you try to pursue a relationship with a co-worker who is not interested in dating you, you may also be accused of harassment.
One other thing to consider is what will happen if you date this person and then break up. Will you see this person everyday? Do you have to work in close proximity with this person? Many relationships do not last, and you do need to consider the aftermath if you do break-up. You do not want your boss to have to choose between you and your co-worker because you may end up on the losing end.
On a brighter note, there are many “happily ever after” stories from people who met their spouse or significant other at work. If you do decide to pursue this relationship further, proceed with caution and be discreet. Be aware that this relationship may make your co-workers uncomfortable so act professionally at work.
Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information. E-mail questions for future columns to ccc@NCACWorkforce.org.