Summer romances have been around for a very long time. Some people find love in the workplace, and have a wonderful relationship that last a lifetime. Some find a summer love with fond memories and some find pain, problems and maybe even performance issue.
For the Individual we are Your HR Department, and we want to be honest with you. Work and love should be kept separate. I used to counsel interns to “don’t mix money with your honey”. However, I used to also counsel that “you can’t always chose who you fall in love with”. I know we are such irrational creatures, and don’t always follow our better judgment when it comes to matters of the heart.
Here are some pointers to help you navigate this work landmine. We all know how landmines work, one wrong step and boom!
- Don’t date your boss, someone that works on your team, or a subordinate! This will put you two into a very difficult situation and will impact everyone. I witness a very senior manager lose credibility, trust and finally his livelihood because of a summer love affair. The people around you will feel you are getting preferential treatment, or that you are now an biased decision maker, and if you get promoted, it will be based on that relationship not on your ability. Duck, dodge and weave to avoid the internal relationship!
- Set ground rules! Just in case your summer fling turns into a bad dating show. Make sure that both parties understand a date is just that a date. Date only outside of the office and try to avoid those awkward moments when you are together at a meeting or lunch table. Keep it clean, no kissy face, huggey love at work.
- Keep it quiet. As the relationship evolves (if it does) then share information with co-workers and managers. If you send flowers or gifts do so anonymously. Hopefully he/she will know it is from you if not you may have bigger problems. Being seen together all the time gets the dreaded rumor mill turning. Once you are in the mill you may get stuck there and derail your career.
- Treat each other with respect! If this thing goes south, end it with respect. If you have an argument at home keep it there decide on a 9 to 5 time out. Respect goes a long way in any relationship, but is very critical when dealing with one at work.
All the best in love and HR!