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Read Letter

Office Romance

My dear Jil,

You said there’s this colleague of yours who seems very much interested in you in the office. You’re wondering whether to get involved with him since you both work in the same office. Well let’s first clarify the office issue. Be sure your corporate policy allows for office romance. Especially since he is superordinate to you. He’s your senior in the office. That in itself can lay him open to charges of sexual harassment. But I don’t envisage you going after him with that, though emotions can be vicious when there are disappointments. 

Some corporate policies do not permit office romance. And the reasons are obvious. Those corporate policies envisage the possibility of collusion in a fraud. It’s for the same reason those policies do not allow marriage between staff. One party must resign. The wife cannot testify against her husband in a criminal trial and vice versa, and so corporations guard themselves. Not all corporations are concerned about this though. Walmart in America allows family members work together. It’s not unusual in that company for father, mother, brothers and sisters to work together. That’s because the purpose of the organisation is to save people money so they live better. It therefore makes sense if a family can aggregate benefits as a collective. It’s a family-friendly corporation though some have raised issues about its corporate practice. It’s a behemoth of a corporation you see – at a time the most valuable corporation in the world. Some feel it uses its size unfairly, to snuff out small businesses. How do you compete with a gorilla, they ask? But those aren’t our issues. Just giving you a little bit of business lesson. We’re talking office romance.

The other dimension to office romance is the issue of distraction. You need to be able to handle yourself. Your work must not suffer just because you’re in love. You must be able to concentrate on your work. What’s the point of getting sacked just because you’re in love? If your boss feels you’re distracted and not doing your work he can fire you. That’s a very high price to pay for love, and you’ll become a parable, especially if the guy keeps his job. Then there’s the issue of the possibility of something going wrong in the relationship. When you have a quarrel, are you sure you can handle it vis-à-vis work? Will your concentration suffer if he annoys you, or does something painful? Will it breed truculence? Will it result in malice, such that the organization begins to suffer from your avoidance of contact? Will your judgment be impaired because of the quarrel? These are real issues. And what if the relationship breaks? Can you handle working in the same office with him after that? Will you be able to cope, especially if your workflow organogram insists on contact between both of you? And will he become vindictive to you if you break off with him? Will he be mean? These issues that go to the character and emotional discipline of this gentleman, and yours as well. If the relationship blows up, your office is suddenly going to become claustrophobic. Illicit office romance won’t even cut it. You lose all justification in a blow out.

And talking about character, you’ve got to be sure he has character and fidelity. If it turns out he’s been toasting other girls in the office there’s going to be World War III. Especially if he’s been sleeping with them. There had better be no pregnancies. Many corporations will rather get rid of the lot of you, using legalese of course. The only person who will get to stay is the person with valuable skill, which may turn out to be Lothario. Of course the corporation will never admit you were sacked for creating emotional turbulence. They’ll just find a legal justification of an excuse. There are so many corporate rules they can hang on you. Do you know that riding a bicycle without headlight is a criminal offence in certain jurisdictions? I’m just trying to illustrate that there are so many laws in society to hang someone with if they’re gunning after you. I’ll advice you peruse your corporate manual to see what is permissible and what is not. And so you see that office romance has its challenges and can be quite tricky. Yet where two or three young people are gathered together sparks tend to fly. Not to talk of hundred young men and women. There’s just a natural relational assessment going on wherever young people congregate. It’s human. Having tackled all these however there remaineth another issue.

There’s the issue of whether there’s actually something going on between both of you. The truth is that both of you are in the zone of plausible deniability now. He can deny there was ever anything between you both, after all he’s never said anything to you. All you have are snippets of “my gf”, a few civil touches here and there, some lingering and suggestive. I’d say don’t get your hopes up until he’s made a clear and firm approach. He may just be enjoying tactility. If he changes his mind about moving in your direction and dates another girl, you’re going to be devastated. Suppositions can never equate clarity of expression. Expressly clarify your status with him. Emotional MOU’s (Memorandum Of Understanding) are not binding. And that’s all you have! Ask him directly what’s going on between both of you, what he wants. If he he-haws and erms and hems, then you know where things stand. And you know not to get your hopes up. If he’s been shy or worried, you’re going to nail him, broaching the subject frontally will cure the fear. All in all, it’s your decision. But take it advisedly. Of course many beautiful marriages started in the office. We’re all going to meet our spouse some way I guess.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder


Tags : Dating, Romance, office

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