The co-worker date
According to a 2010 Monster.com survey, 53% of participants admitted to having a crush on a co-worker, 36% had acted on that crush and had a relationship in the workplace, and 12% had married someone they had dated at work. And why not? You spend more time at your job than you do in most other places (except home, but then you are sleeping for a chunk of that time). My personal statistics are pretty high: of the relationships I’ve been in, 83% of them I met at work (although in most of those we weren’t working together when we became a serious relationship).
Of course there are problems with dating a co-worker. In the same Monster.com survey as above, 75% of respondents thought that workplace relationships lead to workplace conflicts and 73% thought that it could jeopardize job security and advancement opportunities. But it’s do-able, with discreet behaviour and respect for each other’s privacy during the relationship and the break-up. OnlineDating.com has a list of seven rules for dating a co-worker, including: know company policy; weigh the consequences; be discreet and professional; stay within your hierarchy; don’t talk shop; plan ahead; and recover quietly. The always credible Cosmopolitan.com even has some rules for workplace romance, including testing the waters and avoid getting busted.
I knew that part of dating month would have to touch on me dating a co-worker, and The Epicure was the perfect man for the job. The Epicure and I have always flirted with each other at work. We used to joke that we were married (or we were going to marry, I forget), but when he started dating another co-worker, that seemed a little weird, so we stopped. He is single again, though, so back to the teasing each other for fun – and he gives really good hugs that crack my back!
The Epicure planned a lovely picnic in the park yesterday afternoon, with cheeses (including a crazy caramel stilton that had raisins in it – was sort of weird, but sort of good), berries, baguette, smoked salmon, olives, and his dad’s homemade wine that we drank out of plastic yoghurt containers (my only addition to the picnic – I know, classy).
I wasn’t nervous going into the date, but I was a bit worried about what we would talk about. We’ve never really had a conversation that wasn’t at work, joking around, or at a party with lots of other co-workers joining in. It ended up being really fun to talk about our lives. I learned more about his family (which he’s really close with) and his upcoming trip to Africa that sounds amazing (he leaves in the fall for an undetermined length of time).
I’m really glad we got this chance to connect. He was complaining that he doesn’t have enough girl friends to chill with, and as he’s leaving for Africa soon, he’s not going to get into a relationship, but would still like the female companionship. I told him I would love to be his girl friend (not girlfriend, but friend who is a girl – mom and nana, stop getting your hopes up).
Even though I’ve dated lots of co-workers before, getting involved with one whose ex still works at the same place and who is admittedly unattached because of his upcoming trip, is not a good idea. But being his friend is!
The guy I met online who had such a hard time with the fact that I’m doing this project, yet decided he wanted to go on a date with me anyways!