Office love: worth a shot

officeromance::Courtesy of McClatchy Tribune


officeromance::Courtesy of McClatchy Tribune

Dante Frattini


Dating within the workplace is a well-known taboo in this country.

I say “this country” because I’m assuming there’s no problem with it in places like Europe. Europe is down for anything.

Seriously, are there boundaries in that place? There’s nudity on the beaches, riots caused by soccer matches, and men are actually encouraged to ride Vespas. Vespas!

But around these parts, it is frowned upon to date a co-worker, kiss a secretary, and especially “jackhammer” your boss.

We’re told it’s wrong, but is it really so bad?

Let’s take a closer look, pros-and-cons style.

Let’s start with the reasons that have us all imagining a giant red circle with the line through it around “office romance.”

Relationships of any kind in the workplace can be considered unprofessional. A successful relationship can cause distractions, both for the people involved and those who have to bear witness. No matter how cute you think you and your counterpart are, no one really wants to be subjected to your – gulp – love.

The disdain of those around you could easily trump how well you think you handle being involved with a coworker. All it takes is one complaint from a bitter and lonely tech guy to have human resources recommend your dismissal – or even worse, a transfer to Cleveland.

If you manage to hide your relationship, or handle it well enough that it never becomes a problem, you better hope you can handle the breakup with the same skill and grace. There’s nothing that ruins an entire office’s focus and morale than two morose and lethargic heartbreakers.

So you better know that you and your partner can handle the situation if it should come. Prepare yourself. If the relationship is worth anything, then you should feel comfortable discussing how to best mitigate the drama should things go south.

So if office romances are worth all the trouble, why are people still willing to engage in them?

Well, sex.

Writer’s note: I wanted to stop here. My editor suggested otherwise.

OK, OK. There’s more than sex. A lot more. Seriously.

People are lonely. People don’t want to be lonely. And people will try to combat their loneliness any way they can, even if it means -gasp!- breaking company policy.

Love is a rare thing. It’s hard as hell to find it even with 7 billion people on this planet. Why make it harder on yourself by arbitrarily declaring some people off limits?

I think some of us need every chance we can to find it, and that includes the people who get paid to do the same job you do.

Dating a coworker is risky. It is prone to disaster. Well, all relationships are pretty prone to disaster, but maybe none more than interoffice relationships. But how often are you in a serious relationship that ends free of chaos and misery?

If a love comes to an end, and you feel like the breakup went smoothly and there are “no hard feelings,” it likely wasn’t really a love to begin with.

That’s the price we pay for finding love: to be rewarded with great emotions, we often have to pay with great sadness.

So how much added pain can dating a coworker cause?

Not enough to prevent me from considering it.

And I suggest the same to you. If you think he or she is something special, you would be a fool to let the signature on your paychecks keep you apart.

So go ahead, dip your pen in that company ink. Who knows – it might be permanent.

Dante Frattini can be reached at [email protected]