Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Office Romance: Is it worth it?

Romance at the workplace might have a Mills-and-Boon ring to it, but the road to it is often filled with more dangers than you can handle. Although novels and movies are rife with happily ending office romances, reality is a different picture altogether. The temptation of a workplace affair is very intense and the opportunities are also vast, hence most people step into the landmine without thinking about the consequences. Especially, with the current work hours and dedication to one’s career, people tend to spend more time in the workplace than anywhere else; hence the chances of office affairs are fairly high. But the truth is these few days of romantic interlude may end up costing you more than what you bargained for.
Even though one might argue that there are many live examples of happy office romances which have not had any sinister after effects, but unfortunately those are very few and far between. Without belittling those who have found happiness through the workplace, the ratio of failed romances however is much higher compared to the successful ones. In most cases, office romances lead to disastrous results with lasting repercussions. After the entire episode is over, you will probably be left wondering if it was all worth the pain and effort. So, if you are in the verge of falling into the honeyed trap of an office affair, you might consider these facts first.

Is it worth sacrificing your career?: An office romance might make your mundane office routine feel like a visit to the recreation center, but it could also turn your upcoming promotion into a far-fetched pipe dream. The fact that something as harmless as falling in love might lead to a loss of promotion or job might sound sinister at first, but has actually been turned into reality in more cases than one. Romancing a colleague or making eyes at your boss could land you in more trouble than it is worth, especially if your office policies or superiors frown upon fraternizing at the workplace. Many offices also have strict policies about spouses or partners working for the same project, in which case you might lose a lucrative position while romancing your love. But of course, true love knows no such boundaries and in case you feel you have found your true love, you might just want to put yourself to the test first.

The gossip brigade: The office grapevine can range from anything which is slightly malicious to downright cruel when spreading rumors. This kind of gossip, whether true or not, has the capacity to malign your reputation in front of your superiors. And once your good name is sullied it is kind of hard to get it cleaned. The workplace is filled with people who are full of jealousy and strife for their colleagues and who are looking for a chance to get to spread their poison. And when you are indulging in anything that borders even slightly on un-professionalism, it is like handing over the ammunition to them. The only way to keep the office grapevine out of your business is by not giving them anything to gossip about. Keeping things in perspective in the office lets you keep your dignity and reputation intact and also avoids any unnecessary gossip.

The wrong message: The most dangerous thing while indulging in an office romance is the possibility of being slapped with a harassment case. If you are a male and have been working in the corporate circle for sometime; you would, by now, be aware about all the circumstances which can land you into a harassment situation. And you would also be aware that a female colleague can make a complaint against you, even if she so much as FEELS that she is being troubled. 
You might offend the sensibilities of a shy female colleague by just looking or smiling at her in a familiar manner. With such a sword dangling on top of your head, it is mighty risky to assume that your feelings will always be taken in a positive manner by the object of your affections. The innocent overtures that you might make in order to pass your message across might be predicted in an entirely negative way. There might be situations when your more than friendly attitude may be gleaned as something close to stalking and which can definitely land you in more trouble than you had bargained for.

Grass is not always green: The probability of starting an extra marital affair or a romance on the sly is quite high in the workplace. You tend to spend a great deal of time in close proximity with your colleagues and your boss and this gives a lot of room for building a relationship which is more than professional. It is easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and a shared coffee or a drink might lead to a whole new chapter in your life. The temptation of the forbidden and the chances of availability is quite a heady combination and it is not unlikely to become a prey of both. But romantic liaisons like this are usually transitory and when you wake up from it, the world within you might have changed. There is a chance of you losing your job for unprofessional conduct during office hours or there might be an equally good chance of your partner finding out about your antics and seeking a separation. The grass which seemed so green might in fact just be a shade lighter than the ones on your side of the fence.

Although office affairs have happy-endings at times, however it is better to be armed and ready than jump into what could be troubled waters. The current times have made it very easy for office romances to bloom; but the question that remains is; whether it is strong enough to sustain all the pitfalls or it just leads you into a minefield of problems.         

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