Office Romance More Common, Still Can Torpedo Your Career

Susan Hall

Having married one of my co-workers, I get really antsy around those articles warning against dating in the office. I mean, if you spend all your time at work, who else will you ever meet? (And yes, I once sent a message to "all" rather than just to my beloved. Boy, was that embarrassing!)


But we're being flooded with Valentine's Day messages, and face it, dating in the office is beyond common anymore. In its annual survey of office romance, CareerBuilder's Rosemary Haefner is quoted as saying:

Workplace relationships no longer carry the stigma they once did, as 65 percent of workers said they aren't keeping their romance a secret. However, it is the responsibility of the individuals to understand company policy and make sure they adhere to it. Especially in this economy, workers are spending more time in the office and the lines between working and socializing are being crossed. Workers need to keep it professional under all circumstances ...

It found that in the United States, approximately 40 percent of workers say they have dated a coworker and 18 percent report dating coworkers at least twice. (I take that to mean they had dated more than one coworker, not that they'd gone on a second date.) And 30 percent said they eventually married someone from the office. These numbers were slightly lower in Canada.


Interestingly enough, the site 6FigureJobs did a similar poll in October and again in January. The October poll found that 9 percent had married a coworker. Among its clients, who earn $100,000 and up, it found in January:


  • 64 percent said they had dated someone in the workplace.
  • 58 percent think it's a bad idea.
  • Of those who had dated someone in the workplace, half said it's a bad idea.


It concludes:

We recommend you use caution when Cupid flutters through your office. If struck by his arrow, it may turn into love or it could cost you your career.

And in this post of advice about office romance, Pat Stonehouse, president of corporate training site Advancing With Style, writes:

It's risky dating someone with whom you work, for fear that the relationship doesn't stand the test of time. If the relationship does fall apart remember to be mature, respectful and never kiss and tell.

P.S.: IT workers don't come off so well in a survey by UK site The Big Date.

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