10 Things To Know Before You Date a Co-Worker

Are workplace romances OK, or should love stay out of the boardroom altogether?

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Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
Have you ever thought about possibly dating a co-worker? Is there someone in the next cubicle whom you can see yourself getting serious about? Do you find yourself fantasizing about being alone with him or her in the company break room, even if only for a moment?

It is little wonder that workplace romances are common. After all, you are surrounded by people with similar interests and a common goal. Not to mention, most of your waking hours are spent at work.

For some it's true love, and for others it's simply the taboo associated with this type of relationship that sparks their desire.

According to a Glassdoor survey from last year, a majority (51 percent) of workers believe there is nothing wrong with these relationships, and 37 percent of employees admit to having been involved with a co-worker romantically.

So, what do you say? Are workplace romances OK, or should love stay out of the boardroom altogether?

Before you answer, let's take a look at some of the pros and cons. For argument's sake, suppose there are no rules against this behavior in your workplace, even though there are many employers who either frown on it or have rules in the employee handbook that strictly forbid it.

The Pros

1. Working with your partner can be quite rewarding, especially when it comes to carpooling, not having to worry about conflicting schedules, and having the ability to spend more time together.

2. You will now have a built-in accomplice when it comes to job-related strategies, ideas, and proposals.

3. If you're having a bad day at work, you don't have to wait until you get home for consolation. Your partner will recognize your stress and offer an immediate shoulder to lean on. Sometimes, just knowing they're nearby can keep a bad day from becoming worse.

4. Sharing the work environment may help to keep evening and weekend conversations work-free zones. Since you both already know what happened at work, you can spend more time discussing subjects of a more personal nature during off time.

5. You will never have to explain working late again.

The Cons

1. Personal issues may quickly become workplace issues leading to unsatisfactory job performance. This is one of the main reasons employers frown on this practice in the first place.

2. Relationships have a way of cooling off over time. The ability to spend every waking hour together may seem ideal at first, but after a while, even too much of a good thing can be TOO MUCH.

3. What if the relationship fizzles? It's not much fun to think about, but it is an important consideration. Think about your high school days and how uncomfortable things got when a relationship with a classmate went south. Now multiply that by a thousand and you may have at least an inkling of what you may be setting yourself up for in present day.

4. Suppose the opportunity came along that required one of you to relocate with the company for a promotion. A decision would have to be made that could have you choosing between the promotion and your new-found love.

5. Your co-workers may not be as thrilled for you as you think. Inter-office relationships can often mean everyone you work with having access to the intimate details of your love life. This can cause friction on a whole new level. People will talk. That is a fact. And that "talk" can be vicious.

There are many more pros and cons to dating co-workers that space here doesn't permit going into.

Many variables exist as well, like each colleague's company rank, marital statuses, ages, a company's size, and a few others.

The point is, if you plan to pursue someone you work with, keep your eyes open and your guard up. This is sound advice even when you don't throw in the additional layer of dating a co-worker and all that involves.

Sometimes the fantasy is much better than the reality.

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.