It’s the holiday seasons and lonely hearts will feel even lonelier around this time of the year. It is even worse than Valentine’s Day because V-day is a single day event and will pass by pretty soon but around November and December, it’s hard not to feel lonely especially when your family is away and your friends are all going for a couples holiday.
No, I’m not adding salt into your wounds. But this brings a particularly sensitive topic to mind: Office Love Affairs. The three words that HR and bosses alike dreaded very much. You see, office affairs are like opening a can looking for candies and instead, you got worms. At least, in the minds of the nodding heads of HR managers. So should one still do it?
We can’t stop love, true love that is. It’s an unexplainable attraction between two parties, especially when in close quarters, like your workplace. When two persons work closely, sharing ideas, agreeing on concepts, striving for the same goals, mouth bashing and moaning about work / bosses / pay / clients, there bound to be sparks flying in the air. Throw in a couple of overtime hours and business travels. The chemistry can sometimes be obvious even to the surrounding colleagues.
So is it a bad thing? Not necessary. I may preach this “Don’t eat where you shit and Don’t shit where you eat.” way too many times to fellow coworkers but there are proper ways to handle this so that you won’t have work interfere your blossoming love.
1) Don’t treat it like a poison
Companies who preach zero tolerance to relationships are crazy and can only hire robots. And it’s inhumane as well. You can’t stop love and by saying you can’t do it makes the situation worse. Likewise, couples in love, don’t hide it. Love is a happy and wonderful thing.
Don’t be like Sandy, “Roger and I have a strong mutual chemistry from the start when I joined the company. He was from the finance and I’m in the logistics. Our company frown on office relationship so we didn’t open up our relationship status and instead, we sneaked around all the time. Even though we are living together, we couldn’t leave together after work. After a year, due to some misunderstandings we had at work, I don’t understand why he had to work overtime with the new girl in his team all the time, I called it off. Roger could have made a wonderful husband, but the sneaking and lying are too much for me.”
2) Declare to HR and your bosses
Be honest. Made a declaration to both your HR and your bosses from either team the moment you both decided to be exclusive. The earlier you tell them, the better. Yes, no doubt there are consequences like perhaps you’ll be left out working on a confidential project or your partner has to transfer to another department due to conflict of interest. Rather this, than to have someone found out and suspect you might not be diligent in your role due to your partner’s benefit.
Take a leaf out from Ron’s experience, “Amy is from sales and I’m from the marketing team. We have been going out for 6 months and was pretty successful in keeping our relationship underground. She’s always out of the office, canvassing sales anyways. When a new product is about to launch, the marketing team will be notified a few weeks in advance so that we can prepare for promotions, pricing and advertisements. Last Christmas, someone from our workplace bumped into us when Amy and I were on a skiing holiday. He must have seen us cuddling up and kissing on ski lifts. When the holiday is over and both of us are back in office, we were called into HR’s office. Apparently, the same person started to spread malicious rumors about Amy and that she slept with me to get the latest information so that she is always ahead of her peers in sales. That’s absurd! Amy was heartbroken and humiliated. She left the company on the same day. I left after a month later. Maybe if we have been honest from the start, that idiot wouldn’t have the chance to slander us. Both of us are happily married now and working in different companies.”
3) Draw a big fat black line
Between work and personal. We don’t want to tip-toe around you two whenever you had a huge fight with each other last night. Neither do we want to see both of you cooing to each other during lunchtime at the office cafeteria when you decided to make up. Please spare us the public display of affection and anger.
Ivan would always have to excuse himself from his office room whom he shared with Stan whenever his wife came around to the office. They will be all over each other without any regards to whether Ivan is in the room. “You should have seen the grin on his wife’s face when she came out of the room after an hour. Poor girl. I could’ve just tell her that Ivan has the same grin on his face as well when his mistress come visiting him in office on alternate days.”
4) Be ultra understanding
There are times where one’s work is private and confidential, don’t push your limits wanting to know, you may just push away your significant other. If there is no trust in the first place, the relationship is not going for the long haul.
Eve confided that her ex-boyfriend always wanted to know where she is and would be super possessive when she is not in the office. “For goodness sake, I’m a retail area manager, of course, I couldn’t hide in my office cubicle all day. I have to do my rounds going from one store to another. I have to cover at least 80 stores in a month. And he’ll be texting me all the time, asking my whereabouts. Once, I shut my phone off and ignore it, he started calling all the stores to find out if I’m with them. It’s so embarrassing! But was the straw that broke my back.”
5) Don’t abuse your love
Victor wondered what happened when his boss dropped him from a major deal he is working on and passed it to another person in the team. He has been working very hard on his deal and putting extra hours every day to make sure his client would be pleased with the results. After asking his boss, he realized his accountant girlfriend had approached his boss and whine about Victor not having enough quality time to spend with her. He dumped her the next day and she had the cheek to come crying to his boss for a few days in a row!!
Love is a very sacred, fragile emotion. Given a working environment is stressful, you would want to carefully nurture the blossoming love and not have it crushed under workplace malice.
Have you come across office relationships? Do share your stories with us below.