Keeping it professional

Neha Seenarine, Associate Arts & Life Editor

Television series constantly throw “the perfect couple” trope in our faces. It seems like the person you see every day is your soulmate after five seasons. Your soulmate is ideally someone in your circle like a co-worker. However, after the end of the credits, your love story is not as perfect as Jim and Pam’s workplace relationship from “The Office.”

Employees can struggle to keep their workplace relationships professional while on the clock.

A romantic relationship amongst co-workers doesn’t seem too bad in the beginning. However, that’s the case with most romantic relationships. You see the person about 40 hours a week, more than you see your friends and family. When you date a co-worker, the true benefit is saving money on coffee because they will get one for you on their own coffee run. You also know they are employed, so you do not have to check their LinkedIn.

The tricky part of dating a co-worker is not knowing their true colors. Their beliefs and political views may not align with your own. You think they’re nice because being polite is a part of their job. If you like your co-worker, it’s probably because of their professionalism. In reality, they just might be the person who does not say “Thank you,” when you hold the door for them.

You don’t really know who your co-worker is beyond a professional setting. You can always find them on social media, but how true is the internet? My Twitter bio says I am writing for “The Daily Bugle,” the newspaper from Spider-Man. There are people who lie about their identity all the time on social media. It does not make a difference because you see them at work. When they clock out for the day, they can have a different life outside the workplace. For all you know, they could be running a pyramid scheme.

Most workplaces currently require their employees to wear masks. You are left with tons of imagination to guess if your co-worker is attractive or not. Their eyes may look dreamy, but you have no idea what is underneath the mask. Attraction can come from spending too much time with one person. You’re constantly working on projects, so you grow closer. It’s not true love; it’s just you are both on the clock.

A romantic workplace relationship is a privacy issue. There will be other colleagues who notice a gravitational pull between two co-workers. Rumors start flying, and the last thing you want is everyone in your business. This can start paranoia like being careful of how much interaction you share. A workplace rendezvous can leave you in an awkward position of waiting for everyone to leave so you can smooch in the parking lot.

Secrets tend to reveal themselves eventually. Another co-worker can assume or one person may get too excited and tell everyone about their brand new relationship. The crucial part of the workplace is people talk. There will be some who are happy or will disapprove or even give you advice. However, you have to be prepared for the conversations you will have with other co-workers. “How did this start? What if this doesn’t work? What if one of you quits?” They will target every move the relationship takes, and create their conspiracies.

There is a possibility that a romantic workplace relationship can last. It would be awkward to not invite your co-workers to a wedding. However, workplace relationships can go south. For example, the person you’re seeing could be dating someone else outside of work. The worst part about breaking up is how you treat each other. There could be retaliation in the workplace, and that can damage the company’s environment. You can also pretend like it never happened. The best part of working with someone you had romantic feelings for is that you see them all the time. There is no opportunity to miss the time you spent together, and you are constantly reminded why it did not work out. Some companies frown upon romantic relationships in the workplace and, honestly, they have a point.