Office Romance...Is It Worth It?
October 13, 2015
The percentages for successful office dating are against you. These relationships usually end badly. Be single and discrete if you do decide to have an affair with another single at work. It is a tricky situation, and can lead to accusations of favoritism, sexism, discrimination and harassment. If you do decide to date someone you work with, keep it outside the workplace. Above all, never become defensive or offensive because of something said or done in the office towards your new love. If things do not work out, keep the breakup as discrete as you did the romance. A lot of loose talk can lead to problems.
This week's question is what gives managers grey hair at an early age.
Jock: There were these two jocks openly dating at our cluster. They just broke up and he's really down. Around here every one is taking sides of who is the bigger jerk, him or her. Our staff meetings feel really weird. Thank God she got a job at another station in town. You think he would learn; he's now dating her replacement. And she is not exactly a wallflower. He made the mistake of letting her know how much his old girlfriend made. She forced a meeting and wanted to know how come she did not make as much money as ####. Did you ever deal with this kind of thing?
Coach: Of course, you live long enough in this business ... and nothing surprises me. It was not exactly like the situation you described, but I worked at a station I used to call 'Soap Opera City.'
Jock: That's funny, what was going on?
Coach: The place had story lines and subplots all over the place. Because of it, I learned at an early age in this business to avoid all personal situations in the workplace. To be fair, there have been some really cool things that have happened romantically for people at stations, but they have been the rare exceptions. For example, at the place I started to tell you about, the male afternoon personality was dating this nurse he met at a remote. The only reason I know this was because both of them loved to tell the story to anyone who would listen. One day I came to work and headed over to traffic and walked into this discussion between a couple of the sales ladies and the woman in traffic. Apparently the PM-drive guy was kicked to the curb by the nurse for the guy in middays. It was a mess; you have to understand both of the guys seemed to be buddies -- until this happened. The midday dude even moved in with her and, according to the ladies having the loud discussion in traffic, this was after the afternoon dude had helped the nurse move out of her place into a new apartment. Oh yeah, this station was Soap Opera City.
Jock: Well what happened, did the two fight, anyone get fired, or quit?
Coach: It was really touch and go; the afternoon guy was upset and Mr. Midday tried to explain to him how it all happened. One Saturday I was in production finishing some assigned work and I walked out to hear the two of them really into a heated argument. The afternoon kept shouting "We worked together, how you could do this to a fellow jock?" Then he punched a hole into the paper-thin prize closet door. Things were so tense round there, he eventually took another gig in another city. On so many levels it was the best learning experience I ever had of how to maneuver within the work place. So did you learn anything from the situation between those two at your cluster?
Jock: I learned to not gossip and not to date or even flirt at work. Too much stuff can happen.
Coach: What you got out of this is every bit as important as how to do show prep. You can now get down to the serious business of how to keep a job.
Do what you want, but don't do it with anyone at work. There have been many office romances ending up in screaming matches in radio lobbies. People take their eyes off office productivity, which leads to unemployment ... and even lawsuits these days.