Don’t Dip Your Pen in the Company Ink

The title of this blog contains some pretty sound advice. Advice that people seem to have a hard time sticking to. Romantic or physical involvement with someone you work with can lead to all kinds of trouble. For starters, you have to see the person every single working day. That is a lot of days. This adds a whole other dimension to the initial stages of dating, where you normally only see each other once every week or two.

Most people have a few good hours to try everything on in your wardrobe before deciding on the first option you picked, to make sure you are in a fun, happy mood, to bring your A-game personality out for a date. Seeing someone you work with eliminates that – they see you under pressure, stressed, on those days where you slept through your alarm and didn’t have time to brush your hair so instead it’s sitting on top of your head like a bird’s nest. If you want to go for mid week dinner dates then they see you straight after the end of the work day when you are exhausted and just want to relax, without having to be the fun version of you that is normally reserved for dates.

And it’s not just in the workplace that this is an issue, oh no. The saying extends out beyond a company environment to include your group of friends, the people on your social soccer team, the bartender at your local pub. Especially the latter – that is one relationship you really don’t want to ruin. After all, you need to keep in good standing with the person who supplies you alcohol. How else will you drink away your sorrows after a particularly nasty break up with a co-worker?

If you become involved with any of these people and things turn sour, it can have a ripple effect of negative impacts, not only for you but the people around you, too.

Sure, the idea of getting it in on after hours in the boardroom where everyone will later sit, none the wiser, has a certain thrill. As does staying back after final call to do it pressed up against the bar, stained with the stickiness of spilt spirits earlier in the night. However, hooking up with someone you have to continually come into contact with even if things go wrong is an idea fraught with danger. And it doesn’t matter what type of ongoing relationship it is, there are pitfalls with them all.

If you’ve dated someone within your group of friends, those friends are faced with the awkward situation of trying not to take sides, of making sure they still include everyone while avoiding too many small group gatherings, in case a possible fight may break out. Work colleagues is even worse. If you aren’t able to be civil around each other then it affects everyone’s work environment, making it awkward for yourself, your co-workers, and your boss. And no one wants to be the person making their boss feel awkward…that can’t end well.

The moral of this story is, excuse the crudeness, don’t shit where you eat. Unless you are both incredible, awesome human beings who are able to see things in a logical, realistic manner; who are honest and upfront from the start; who can communicate any foreseeable future issues before they emerge; and who can take things for what they are and gracefully move on should things fall apart; then just don’t bother trying. Considering how few people there are in the world who tick all those boxes, you’re probably best just heeding the advice in the title of this blog from the outset.


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