Doostang News February 14: The Office Romance Manual – Navigating Love with a Coworker

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Around Valentine’s Day it can be difficult to escape all the love hanging in the air – even at the office.  It’s one thing to stress over the unwanted advances of a lusty coworker, and quite another to worry about how you can make an office romance work when you want it to.  Many companies discourage inter-office romance, but when you’re single and surrounded by like-minded individuals for the good part of your day, it’s difficult not to fall for a few office charmers.  So what is the best way to navigate the often complicated office romance?

Be Aware of Company Policy

While dating someone at the office is not illegal, companies have different policies regarding it.  So if you work for an organization that discourages cross-cubicle romance, try to stay below the radar.  If your boss doesn’t care about who you’re bringing home to Mama, you can breathe a little easier, but remain professional regardless.  This means no footsy, kids!

Keep it Out of the Office

To continue, it’s imperative that you keep your relationship out of the office.  It’s unprofessional to be calling out pet names across the conference room table, and it’s even worse to bring your personal disagreements into work.  It also puts those around you in an awkward position, and sets you up for accusations of favoritism.

Consider the Breakup

Before you embark on an intense amorous affair with a fellow employee, consider what the outcome might be if you break up.  Is this person a boss who might hamper your professional growth if you make them sleep out on the couch?  Is this an individual that works under you who might charge you with harassment or favoritism of other workers when you fail to return a box of their favorite DVDs?  Think long and hard about this, and make sure that if you do go through a nasty break up, the two of you can act like adults, at least from 9 to 5.

Watch Your Online Activity

It bears repeating that you can never be too careful when it comes to representing yourself online.  So if you’re trying to keep an office relationship under wraps, be mindful when you set a relationship status on Facebook, post pictures, or write comments.  It’s also wise to make sure you keep everything tasteful in general.  Another important thing to consider is the emails you send throughout the day.  If you are using your work email account to send a message, others in the company may be able to access it.  Be careful what you send to a significant other, avoid sending personal messages through office accounts, and again, keep it tasteful.

Office romance is on the rise, and with good reason.  Who doesn’t like an intelligent, sexy working man or woman?  That’s what we thought.  Just take a few extra precautions, stay professional, and have fun!

xoxo,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang News Feb 8: Be Mine, Valentine! Avoiding the Lusty Coworker

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Bill in HR coming on too strong? Janice playing footsy under the desk? Yeee-up. We’ve all been there. Whether you underwent your first awkward dance of unrequited love in the third grade or your third year of college, you’ll notice that the rules of the game don’t change much from the sandbox to the cubicle. But hey! No need to suffer – Doostang’s here to spare every hopeless romantic a little heartache. Keep reading for a list of tactful approaches to the advances of your love-struck coworkers.

Remain Calm

This is not a drill! And matters of the heart are of the utmost delicacy. In one fell swoop you can shatter a person’s dignity. It’s fairly obvious that when someone musters up the courage to profess their feelings or ask you out on a date, that no matter what your response, you need to be kind. More than this, when you are in the workplace you need to act professionally. It may be tempting to gawk at someone’s audacity, but if you laugh in their face or come back with a snide reply, you’re going to make the situation far more uncomfortable for yourself and for that other person. Remember, you work with this individual, so chances are you’re going to see them on a daily basis. It’s no fun having to time your jaunts to the water cooler or painfully wait to use the restroom in order to avoid having a one-on-one with said individual…because …well because this is what you were trying to avoid in the first place, now wasn’t it?

Steer Clear of Gossip

Yeah, maybe it was funny when socially awkward Frank with the taped glasses strolled in, proposing a night out on the town. But unless Frank mentioned a party bus, don’t go sharing the news with all of your office buddies. Doing so is disrespectful to that other person and has the potential to start nasty rumors. The workplace is a very small world, and things have a way of getting back to other people. Gossip is never a safe bet, and, more than this, it’s just plain unprofessional.

Seek Assistance

A little unsolicited flirting can be endearing sometimes, but when Cupid is launching an all out barrage of heart-shaped arrows your way, it may be time to take matters to a higher power. If you have already conveyed to a coworker that you are not interested and they still won’t take a hint, or, worse yet, begin treating you disrespectfully, you have every right to talk to a manager or Human Resources representative. Companies take sexual harassment very seriously, and you should report it the moment it becomes an issue.

Be Honest

While not necessarily a token of advice specific to the workplace, the golden rule of honesty is generally a good one to live by in any scenario. Picture this: Barbara approaches you outside the office kitchenette, asking if you’re free to join her for pizza Friday night. Don’t fib and tell her that you already have a girlfriend or you’re allergic to pizza, because when the GF fails to show up to company soirees time and again or you have to opt out of office pizza parties, you’re going to feel like a fool. Have the sense to tell the truth. How about, “You know, I’m really not looking to date anyone right now, I’m focused on my work.” Or maybe drop a hint like, “I’m not sure that Friday will work for me, but maybe you can come along with me and some of the guys in the office to grab pizza at lunch.” People will respect and appreciate you much more in the long run if you respect them enough to tell the truth.

Matters of the heart are tricky. And matters of the heart mixed with matters in the workplace can turn sour very quickly. So keep it sweet this Valentine’s Day, and implement a little tact into your office romance routine.

Love,

Your Secret Admirer (The Doostang Team!)

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