Remember that scene in Love Actually when Sarah finally hooks up with hot colleague Karl at their graphic design firm’s Christmas party? Aside from the unfortunate detail that they were interrupted mid-steamy kiss by a phone call, it seemed pretty perfect (and romantic). Right?
From eyes meeting across the office to nervous water cooler conversations, fancying someone you work with is totally normal and can make a dull workday fly. However, dating that person three desks away is another matter entirely. Here are the reasons why you should – or shouldn’t – mix your career and romance.
1. Should: You have at least one thing in common
This is surprisingly important. A shared work life will provide endless conversation starters during that awkward first date stage, and huge scope for gossip as well as moaning about your shared boss or workload. Additionally, you’ve both chosen a similar career path, and are therefore likely to have similar interests and aspirations.
2. Should: The convenience factor
Let’s face it, who really has time to meet people the old-fashioned way? Multi-tasking is where it’s at. Promotion? Check. Life partner? Check. All in a day’s work.
3. Should: You really know them
In a world where Tinder and Happn reign, this is a big plus. The likelihood is that if you work with this person on a daily basis, you will have already seen them at their best and worst. If you still have burgeoning romantic feelings having witnessed them after one too many on Thirsty Thursday, experienced their poor tea-making abilities and coped with their stress levels pre-big meeting, then it’s probably love.
4. Shouldn’t: Pecking order jealousy
Beware of accusations of favouritism if you start dating your boss or junior. Colleagues can be quick anyway to feel they deserve a pay rise or promotion more than the next person – when personal feelings get involved, jealousy can strike.
5. Shouldn’t: Office etiquette
You may share shampoo and watch Netflix in bed, but avoiding making it awkward for everyone else in the office can be a tricky path to navigate. PDA is absolutely forbidden. As are pet names.
6. Shouldn’t: Would you work with an ex?
Unless you have superhuman powers of forgiveness – or amnesia – your answer to this is probably: “hell no”. However, that is what is likely to happen if you date a colleague and it all turns sour.