They say not to shit where you eat, but that seems to be one of those charming nuggets of advice that’s lost on people. From Mark Antony and Cleopatra shacking up after “forming an alliance” in 41 B.C. to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner hooking up after filming the abomination that was “Daredevil” together, it’s obvious it can happen anywhere. Plus, Jennifer G. swooped in and nursed Ben back to health after Jennifer Lopez chewed him up and spit him out. (See that, J.Lo? You could have been married to BATMAN. You fool, you damn fool!)
I actually used to work with the young woman I call my girlfriend. We met while interning on a TV show together, and we even interviewed back to back for the job I currently occupy. Although we no longer work together, we managed to navigate the early part of our relationship while being all up in each other’s literal and sexual business, and now, we’re still pretty darn happy. Well, as happy as two naggy, overworked Jewish people can be.
Here are a few suggestions about dating in the workplace. Follow them and this won’t blow up in your face as much as Meryl in HR:
Keep It Out Of The Workplace
Look, everyone can clearly see what you’re doing all the time, thanks to social media. Welcome to the modern age. Every picture you take, check-in you make, and orgasm you fake gets tweeted out to however many people follow you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. That’s the world we live in now.
Do yourself a favor and keep your personal life out of the office. You’re there to do your job and that’s about it. Don’t hang out in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s workspace constantly, don’t call each other across the office to deliver cutesy messages, and for the love of God, if I see you PDAing in the office, I will throw things at you. Boundaries, man. Flowers on your boo’s birthday are more than okay, but that’s the line. You don’t want to piss off your bitter, jealous, “forever alone” coworkers.
Speaking of which…
Ignore Your Ballbusting Coworkers
You WILL get teased, make no mistake. You’re just going to have to learn to tune those people out, especially at the very beginning of your courtship. If you walk into a room together, people will whistle, hoot, and holler at you two. If you eat lunch together, someone will say, “Aww, the lovebirds are lunching together, how presh!” If you find yourself alone in the copy room with your S.O., someone will ABSOLUTELY make a sex joke or two.
Just tune them out. Eventually, you’ll be old news and people will once again focus on Mike’s awful toupee or the fact that David is getting way too close with Amy, the new, 22-year-old receptionist.
Don’t Have The Same Goals
If you want to date someone in the same profession or field as you, that’s cool. But you two need to talk early on about your professional ambitions.
Let’s say you both work for an entertainment company. One of you wants to be a writer and the other wants to be a publicist. You have absolutely no crossover and will never compete for jobs against one another. You’ll help each other reach your goals if you can. That’s ideal.
But say you’re both at a law firm and you’re both gunning to make partner, or, hell, maybe you both want to be president of the same company somewhere down the line. One of you will get the job and one of you won’t. That’s going to create some resentment, my friends. In life, there are winners and losers, but do you really want to date the person who beat you out for that massive promotion? That’ll be one hell of a somber celebration dinner.
Talking this out at the beginning will save you a meltdown to the caliber of Ron Burgundy flipping a shit after Veronica read the news for the first time. Or in “Anchorman 2,” when the exact same thing happened. If you don’t, well…
Know the Potential Cost Of A Breakup
Hey, if you can make it work, Mazel Tov. As we say in Yiddish, Gay Ga Zinta Hey, which roughly translates to “go do ya thang.”
But if you guys break up and it gets ugly, do you really want to see this person every day still? Do you want to deal with awkward run-ins in the break room, meetings where you can’t look each other in the eye, and tense situations that will either result in fighting, banging, or bang-fighting? Does any of that sound fun to you, other than the bang-fighting? Nope.
If it gets REALLY acrimonious, HR will step in and take care of this problem for you, by firing one (or both) of you. It’s like when Ari Gold had to fire the twin brother agents when one of them banged the other one’s wife, and Ari fired the one who brought in less money (though he ended up firing the other one, too). In the end, if you two break up, one of you might want to start looking for a job preemptively, or see if you can get transferred to another part of the company, or even if your company has offices in other cities, because relocating might not be a bad option.
I will say, however, that working at two different companies can work wonders for a good relationship, too. It gives you more to talk about at home, and it gets you out of your partner’s hair for half the day. That’s always a plus, right?
To sum it up, I’m not saying don’t date a coworker. I’m just saying you should proceed with caution. Talk about your goals and expectations early on and you’ll have a much happier, healthier, less acrimonious relationship. You might meet the love of your life, but make sure you’re both mature and cool enough to handle DWW (dating while working) in the same office.