A reporter called me yesterday asking about my thoughts on dating in the office. Ugh, do I really have to talk about this? Then I thought, ‘Yeah, you do,’ because this happens more often than one would think and Black women can easily lose their minds over the swoon that a male co-worker can bring. My take on the whole thing ladies? Don’t do it.
Falling for that tall, dark, and handsome co-worker can have you quickly losing your mind and your job in one fell swoop. Why? Because if you can’t keep your professional hat on at all times, then it makes you look unprofessional, undignified and uncouth while he’s looking like the big man on campus. Sad, but true.
My best advice is don’t go down this long, winding, road to nowhere, but if you do, follow this advice:
- Be discreet. Although I’m not an advocate of office romances, there is a way to do it appropriately. That means no making out behind closed doors, IM-ing each other using the company equipment or running off for a “walk” every chance you get. It just looks bad and it’s tacky. If you’re going to see each other, decide that it will be after-hours, that there is no physical contact while at work and please don’t go bragging to the whole office about your relationship. And by all means, both of you should be single. Having an affair with someone else’s significant other is NEVER worth the price of admission.
- Understand the implications. Do you really want to risk your reputation and perhaps your position for a romp with a co-worker? The last thing you want your co-workers or worse yet, your bosses to discover is that you are having a rendezvous on the company’s time or the company’s dime (think: employee retreats). It’s hard for people in the office to take you seriously about a promotion or a project you’re leading when all they can think about is you and what’s his name whispering sweet nothings to each other.
- Keep your emotions in check. This is a tough, but necessary point. When you see your honey chatting up with the office cutie, don’t fly off into a jealous rage. Instead, say hello and keep it moving. Easier said than done, but having fits of jealously or continuing arguments in the workplace that started at home are considered both inappropriate and a distraction. Again, when you think about your brand, ask yourself: How do I want to be known in the workplace? If you want to be known as a crazy maniac who is whipped by an office cutie, fine. If you want to keep your job, respect each other’s space and focus on performing in the office and keep the bedroom antics where they belong.