It was my first day on the job. I was a junior from the university interning at the local album rock radio station on Hawley Street. I was scheduled to meet with Kevin N., the Program Director, who was giving me a tour of the studios.
Not more than a minute from the time that Kevin came into the lobby and introduced himself, she walked through the door that separated the studios from the reception area. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. My head snapped from right to left as she passed in front of me. “I think I’m going to like it here,” I said to Kevin. Kevin promptly responded, “Yeah, she’s our Traffic Manager.”
Over the next 4 years I graduated and took a job working full-time at the station in the sales department. Kevin was now the Operations Manager. My sales were soaring. I figure it was because every time I had a new sales order I had to discuss it with the Traffic Manager.
Yup, she was still there, and crazy good looking as ever. I loved those meetings. They were filled with innuendo and long sessions of me leaning over her shoulder to review ad schedules.
Every so often the staff and DJ’s went out to drinks at the local watering hole and she was there. It was all I could do to make my way over to her and throw back a couple of shots with the group.
And then it happened. I’ll leave it to the imagination, but let’s just say that an opportunity arose for us to have a few :60 second commercial breaks. Uh-oh.
Wake up kids. It was 1983. You can’t do that stuff now!
At least not without some serious discussion and a designated driver. I consider myself pretty lucky that I caught the end of the ‘Mad Men era.’ Times are different. The office romance is still alive and well but there are some critical rules of the road that I would strongly advise. After all, people’s lives and careers are at stake. According to Forbes, between 39-59% of workers have dated a colleague.
If that special someone has caught your eye in the office review this checklist before making the advance and embarking on the forbidden journey:
- Know your Company’s policy on office dating. Every Company is different and there may be consequences from the start. You might find yourself in a situation where you have to quit your job or change locations for the fire to keep burning.
- Keep it professional. Refrain from the cute touching, kissing and other PDA’s. Your co-workers will appreciate you both for being discreet.
- Assume that the staff knows, but don’t flaunt it. Back in the day people got a kick out of the office romance game. Not anymore. Many may be offended. Their opinion, whether you like it or not, counts.
- Let the boss know before she/he finds out from someone else. Your professional attitude will go a long way in maintaining the boss’s respect.
- Consider what might happen if the relationship doesn’t work out. Give it more than a minute’s thought. It’s best to think about it when you are sober.
- Show respect. While this is true in any circumstance, it is especially true in a professional environment. Go the extra mile to be thoughtful, polite and understanding.
- Don’t take business trips together. Your chances of crossing the lines of Company policy get very muddy with this one.
- Understand that no means no. If he/she says that they don’t want the relationship, don’t push it. Not only is that unprofessional, it’s creepy.
By Gary Steel