Chocolate . . . Cards . . . Roses . . . Cupid – aiming an arrow . . .

right through the heart of your career!  Must be February!  Time for Valentine’s Day – when little expressions of romance can lead to all sorts of office trouble!

Let’s be honest, with so much time spent at the office and so few other places where we spend significant amounts of time – the office is a prime place to meet that special person.  With “proximity” being one of the top factors in relationship formation, it’s no surprise that co-workers can become prime Valentine’s Day candidates.

However, if you value your job and your professional reputation, then here’s my recommendation for a successful office romantic relationship:


Sex, dating, and/or romantic involvement DON’T mix well with career, job, and employment. If you are in a relationship at work or if you are attracted to someone at work, here are 5 Reasons to Keep Your Valentine Out of the Office. 

Office Romance Consideration #1:  It’s Not Likely to Work Out. 

Statistically speaking, if you “think he or she’s the one”, they probably will turn out not to be.  When it does not work out, now you have to live the rest of your time at that organization walking on eggshells waiting for that person to pull you into sexual harassment allegation hell.

Even if your heart was 100% innocently in love – in hindsight, how would you defend that the reason someone did or did not get a promotion, an assignment, or an opportunity had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you were sleeping with so and so.

Office Romance Consideration #2:  It May Work Out. 

Perhaps worse than it not working out would be if it did work out.  Now you are involved in a wonderful relationship.  So you’re going to keep it secret?  That’s no way to live.  If not, then how will anyone possibly respect any business decision that either one of you make that could affect the prospects, position, pay, or opportunity of the other?  “Well, she only got the position because . . . . ”  

Office Romance Consideration #3:  You May Have to Choose. 

Your job OR your relationship.  That’s where it will go if it works out – with one of you having to leave to avoid the situations anticipated above.  What if you both like your job and career?  How will that decision impact the budding relationship – who gets to stay, who has to go?

Office Romance Consideration #4:  You’re Giving Power Over Your Career to Someone Else. 
If the relationship spans office hierarchy – say an exec or manager with an admin or junior associate – you are handing the junior a “sexual harassment free-play card” that he or she will file away for however long until it’s needed.  Sounds so ugly – I’m not saying that he or she would actually play that card – I’m just saying, you’ve given someone that Ace (of hearts, of course) to hold on to.

Office Romance Consideration #5:  Go For It!  
Do you “live to work” or “work to live”?  If the proximity of work puts you in front of the Valentine of your destiny, and you are fully aware of the consequences discussed above, then love might just conquer all in the end!

However, if you go for that Inner-Office-Valentine, it is important to remember to play by the office rules.  Just because you are in a consensual relationship, doesn’t mean that the company’s Anti-Harassment policy and proper professionalism do not apply to you and your Valentine at the office and any work related function.  Public displays of affection and flirtation – even if welcomed within the consensual relationships, may make others uncomfortable and contribute to the harassment claim of a third party.

Now . . . who are those flowers from?


DB Pargman Consulting LLC is the leading specialized provider of One-to-One Executive Sensitivity Training and Group Diversity & Sensitivity Training. When an organization and it’s Key People face conflicts, accusations, or potential litigation relating to diversity or sensitivity issues, DB Pargman provides prompt and remedial responses that meet expectations of legal compliance, and perhaps more importantly, restore and enhance the performance of Key People. The firm provides trainings through live one-to-one individual executive sessions, live class-room group sessions, live online virtual sessions, and follow-up ongoing executive coaching. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, DB Pargman has served a national client base of businesses, educational institutions, and governmental agencies for over 13 years.  DB Pargman Consulting LLC is Federal GSA Schedule Contract Holder.

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