You might want to rethink that policy of not dating anyone you work with. There plenty examples of wildly successful couples whose romances began and flourished on company time. Take Bill and Melinda Gates, for example. They met when Melinda began working at Microsoft in 1987, and they married in 1994. A new report from CareerCast.com offers plenty more examples.
Others who had famous office romances that turned out well include President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas married in 1992 (Barack Obama worked as an intern for his future wife when she was an associate at a Chicago law firm.) And don't forget CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves, who married CBS 'Early Show' anchor Julie Chen in 2004.
When office romances go bad, however, it can cause difficulties for everyone involved. Some casualties include David Letterman and assistant Stephanie Birkitt, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Aniston and funnyman Vince Vaughn.
"When co-workers become romantically involved, they often aren't thinking about what's going to happen next week, let alone next year," says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast. "While some make it to the altar, others aren't quite as fortunate and jobs, marriages and friendships may be irrevocably harmed."
If you're considering an office fling, here's some advice to help make it last, or at least end well:
- The workplace can be the perfect environment for singles to meet a long-term partner. You can build a great foundation on which to grow your relationship, as long as your romance doesn't interfere with work.
- Keep your involvement private until you've both determined that you're in it for the long haul.
- Communicate clearly and directly with each other about how you should act at work.
- Give each other space when you're in the office. Don't crowd each other or constantly check up on one another.
- If you have a boss-subordinate work relationship, consider transferring out of the same department so you're not put in a potentially risky situation with top management, who watch for potential legal landmines.
- Your relationship should be a collaborative effort. If one of you is putting in more time and effort into the relationship than the other, it could be a warning sign that you're headed for trouble.