— Chick Literal

How To Date a Coworker Without Ruining Your Career or Your Relationship

If you haven’t seen this week’s Mindy Project, stop reading immediately if you’re worried about spoilers.

For those of you who have seen it, I’m of two minds about the Mindy/Danny situation, and I hate that we have to wait til April to see how things play out.  On one hand, the two have obvious chemistry and I’m glad the show isn’t making us wait like, seven seasons to see what happens. On the other hand, I really liked their friendship and I’m not sure how I feel about that turning into something more.  Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing it, as the show does a good job of playing with rom com tropes rather than just doing what’s expected.

All that said, regardless of what happens, I am worried about what might happen with the dynamic of the show since Danny and Mindy and everyone else work together.  Dating coworkers is nothing new on TV, but that doesn’t always make it a good idea, on TV or in life.  Every article ever written on dating coworkers will tell you it’s a bad idea, but in the same article will also tell you that 9000% of marriages began as office romances. As someone who’s seen some office romances lead to the altar and others crash and burn, here are my tips for successfully negotiating the treacherous waters of workplace romance.

Consider how it will affect your career.

If this is your summer job waiting tables or folding T-shirts, fine. If this is your job at a company you’re excited about working for and want to build a career at, take a pause.  I’d love to pretend that double standards don’t exist, but they do, so you’re going to want to make absolutely sure people are going to be looking at you as the awesome employee that you are and not think that you’re only working in order to snag a husband, or that you’re getting any preferential treatment because of who you’re dating.  Absolutely never, ever date your boss or anyone you’d want to give you feedback on your next performance review.  Even if it’s someone at your level in another department, you still want to be known as “Sally, who’s killing it in marketing” not “that girl who dates Dave in accounting.”

Know your drama level.

You know how you are in relationships.  You know the level of contact you want, what you’re looking for, you know how you deal with breakups. Now insert all of that into your work environment.  If you’re super chill, perhaps go for it.  If you’re the type who’s going to throw a screaming fit because he forgot your 2 month anniversary, question if that’s something you should be doing at the office.

Make sure you have an outside support network.  

For some people this might not be a problem, but if you derive the majority of your social network from work, adding an office relationship to the mix can be too much –   your friends are at work, your boyfriend is at work, your work is at work.  Make sure you have some sort of non-work outlet for when you need to get away, because venting about work to your coworker who is also your boyfriend can get to be a lot.

Have an exit strategy.

No one wants to consider that things might end when starting a relationship, but in this case, you need to.  If things don’t work out, will you still be able to work with this person?  If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand to so much as see an ex, are you each going to have set hours you can use the cafeteria?

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