How to survive a break-up with a coworker
I get it. The idea of being your office’s version of The Office’s adorable Jim and Pam is way too enticing to pass up. The cute guy in the cubicle next to you sent you a flirtatious email or two, and you may have even locked eyes across the conference room table during that boring meeting about scheduling other boring meetings. Workplace romance is fun and exciting, and it makes the day go way faster. Sometimes it lasts longer than the job! But sometimes…well, you and that cute co-worker just don’t work out the way you imagined.
The worst part of all this, of course, is that you still have to see each other at work, even if the romantic component of your connection is kaput. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to quite your gig to get away from a cooled office fling. You can figure this out! It’s going to be OK. Here’s what to do.
Keep it cool and professional
It may be enticing to send your ex a snarky e-mail or a sassy memo, but don’t do it. Remember work modes of communication should be kept for just that: work. If they send you something personal over email, just firmly and politely say that you should keep that for after hours.
Try to keep office gossip to a minimum
Venting to your friends is good and healthy, but when you’re working with your ex, it’s wise to remember the setting. Avoid getting into the nitty-gritty with your work pals in the office, and leave your romantic frustration talk time for after work drinks or coffee. After all, you all still have to work together.
Shake it off
A good attitude around the office will go far. The first few weeks after the break up are going to be tough. While you’d really rather take a few sick days to sulk under the covers, it’s best to strut into work like nothing is wrong.A secret about break-ups: If you act like things are cool and fine, people will follow your lead. Do everything you can to get yourself in the right mood: put on the cutest dress you own, wear your brightest lipstick, and blast some Taylor Swift or Shania Twain in the car as you drive to work. And if you do feel those tears building behind those eyes of yours make an emergency trip to the ladies room. There’s no shame in feeling your feelings.
Don’t let having an ex in the room shake your confidence
When you’re presenting the latest numbers to the board you’re the boss, so don’t let your ex’s presence make you feel intimidated. I understand the instinct to want to avoid all human contact with them, but you’re good at your job. Don’t let a personal conflict shake you out of your groove. Hold your head up high and walk the halls like you own the place.
If things are really out of control, talk to HR
If things are a bit tense with your ex, let your Human Resources department know that. It doesn’t need to be an official complaint, but it’s good to keep them informed. Keep your declaration as professional as possible and don’t go into all the juicy details of your relationship or break up, but let them know the situation. The truth is they are there to help you and they can provide you with helpful advice on how to deal.
While you may be suffering in the love department at the moment, you don’t want to let a bad break up hurt your professional goals. I promise, you can make it out the other and and be just as kickass at your job as before.
Sonja Shea is a project coordinator extraordinaire for an eclectic museum in sunny Sarasota, Florida.
[Image via NBC]