Before Mary Baker and Nicole Mezlo were spouses or even friends, they were colleagues, working for the same public relations firm in Washington D. When they finally began dating, they kept their courtship secret for nearly three years, not telling their co-workers until they became engaged.
And while their relationship led to a loving marriage, both say anyone who considers dating a colleague needs to embark down that path with their eyes wide open.“It’s hard for me to say to somebody not to take a risk when for me, it turned out so well,'' says Baker, 35, who no longer works for the same company as Mezlo, 40.
And if the couple splits up, the staff may pick sides, "creating more of a morale issue among employees who weren't directly involved in the relationship,'' Yost says. Managers weren’t supposed to date employees.’’Playing cat and mouse was a little fun at first, she says.
Recently the couple has been dealing with a lot of issues that has made it hard for them to live in the same house together, let alone work together. Sure, you can try and pretend that you're working, but inevitably you'll be exchanging longing glances, secret text messages, IMs, the list goes on. It's not like dating some random that you can easily block on Facebook and never talk to again.But if a relationship goes awry, she says, it can negatively impact your career and your peace of mind."I can’t imagine if I was dating a person and it went downhill going to work every day and having to see that person.’’There are countless couples who have begun dating while working together, be it in an office, at a restaurant, or on a movie or TV set."It might be a consensual, healthy relationship, but once that’s exposed in a work environment, you can’t always control how that’s going to be perceived and how that might come up years later.’’Still, "no matter what policy or program a company has in place,'' Haefner says, workplaces romances are "going to happen.''Some 41% of workers have dated a colleague, according to a Career Builder survey released last week.And 30% of those relationships resulted in marriage.