Are Office Romances Worth the Risk?

On the surface, office romances make perfect sense. They're so efficient - you've already gotten to know each other, have shared lunches and late nights, discovered things in common. And, once you start hooking up, you will automatically have someone to carpool with to work - saving both time and money!

But there are risks when you start dipping your pen in the company ink. Is your cubicle crush worth it?

Overexposure

Can you handle being in constant contact with each other day in and day out, regardless of how well (or how poorly) you may be getting along at the moment? How much do you want to tie your personal life and work life together? If you're dating someone from the same company, you'll probably spend your evenings and weekends talking about work ... does that sound fun? And what will you talk about over dinner at night when you both already know each other's good office gossip?

Productivity Pitfalls

Getting carnal with your coworkers can interfere with your ability to do your job. Think: favoritism (real or merely accused), conflicts of interest, not to mention the obvious awkwardness if you're ever in a position that requires you to fire, or even just reprimand, your sweetheart. Or vice versa.

Gossip Gunshy

No matter how good you are at keeping it a secret, people will find out. And people will talk. Are you prepared to deal with unfair perceptions or gossip - some may think you're creating an uncomfortable work environment or using power in the wrong way. If you can't handle being the subject of water cooler conversations, reconsider your office romance.

Ugly Outcomes

Office romances are tricky enough when they're working, but if the union becomes unglued, things can really get ugly. If you're dating a colleague, there are all those uncomfortable moments as you pass in the hallway. And - as if the breakup itself wasn't bad enough - if you're dating someone above or below you on the corporate ladder, you could be faced with a sexual harassment lawsuit (from a scorned subordinate) or losing your job.

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