Thursday, September 15, 2011

Relationships at Work

When I was in high school, I worked as a cashier at a grocery store. I vividly remember part of my training where we talked about relationships in the workplace. “Whatever anyone says to you, no matter how much you like someone, do NOT touch anyone else. It will come back to haunt you,” the trainer said. Funny, I remember her saying it, but I still managed to have a relationship with one of the bag boys. What a mistake that was…

Personal relationships in the workplace can be hit or miss. Obviously, with more people working longer hours, it is not uncommon for love to blossom between colleagues. When you work closely with people, you get to see them for who they really are, and if that is in an appealing light, Cupid could come calling and make things quite complicated.

Some workplaces prohibit workplace relationships and I can completely see why, having been in a few. First of all, becoming cozy with a colleague can be a conflict of interest, especially if one of you has more authority over the other or has anything to do with giving performance ratings, promotions, arranging salaries or approving reports. If the relationship goes sour, it can be quite upsetting and awkward for all parties involved. Not disclosing a relationship with a coworker can get you fired, so if you do decide to start something, make sure you make it as public as possible.

Also, if the relationship doesn’t work out, harassment cases are possible. No one wants to be the employee that has to leave a company to get away from an ex. It is always a good idea to check with HR about your company's policies regarding workplace relationships and whether it is worth risking your job asking out that special someone.

As for me, the workplace relationships that I had foolishly participated in never lasted. The last thing you want to see at work when you are meant to be professional is the guy or girl you have been arguing with for the last week about something ridiculous. And if you do end things, seeing your ex everyday does not make things any easier. So my advice would be to take the advice given to me many years ago. Don’t touch anyone at work. It more than likely won’t work out and will save you a lot of heartache. Trust me, I’ve been there.

- Rachel

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