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Making Whoopee at Work

Dear Philippa,

When you spend most of your life at the office like I do, you end up dating women you work with. This hasn't been a problem in the past. But, this new woman and I are crazy about each other and it's getting out of hand, especially after hours at work. Talk about living out your fantasies! Any advice?

�JP, Milwaukee, WI


Dear JP,

I'm trying to read in between your lines and you're steaming up my computer screen. I can't tell if you're bragging or you really want to cool things with this woman.

I am sure that if most office walls could talk they would tell quite a story. I've heard about couples making it on the conference table and even trying to replicate themselves on the copy machine after hours. No doubt there is a thrill in the possibly of getting caught. And you probably like the idea of walking around the office the next day with a smirk on your face, right?

But JP, thrills and spills aside, I worry about you crossing the line from a little harmless fun into escapades that can get you fired. Not to mention, you may be really ticking off your coworkers. Sooner or later a messy office romance ends up affecting the people around you.

Let's face it, with the long hours everyone is working these days, office romance is going to happen whatever employers choose to mandate. The rule is when you are dating someone from work, keep the romance out of the office. That means acting like coworkers not lovers whenever you are in the office. And keep details of your romantic activities to yourself. Office gossip has a way of boomeranging back on you and not always with the truth. Even if you only hinted at something to a buddy, by the time it reaches your girlfriend's ears the story could be explosive. Others hearing about or suspecting your actions may be envious or find your activities embarrassing, morally offensive, or even feel like you are creating a hostile environment where harassment claims can rise.

The other danger is a Fatal Attraction scenario. Remember the movie? Your office lover may not be into killing rabbits, but could certainly kill your career. 

I am sure you and this woman can find other interesting places away from the office to get in touch with your wild sides. Move the focus off work and at work. Try and get some balance into your primarily physical relationship so you have the option, if needed to transition into a casual friendship without any burnt fingers. Playing at work is playing with fire.



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