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Office romances are affairs to avoid

Rob Enderle | July 27, 2015
In-office affairs may seem like an exciting idea, but really they are more likely to be career-enders. Columnist Rob Enderle is speaking from experience when he tells you the risk is NOT worth the reward.

Research firm
A very large dominant research firm, you can likely guess who, was run by a CEO who clearly liked to take risks. He decided it would be really fun to have sex in the stairwell of the firm's headquarters, forgetting that there were security cameras capturing every moment. I have no idea what happened to his marriage, but the board met and fired him and that was pretty much it for his career.

Micrprocessor firm
One of the saddest tales was when two now married friends started dating even though they were in the same organization and one ran the group the other worked in. They tried to transfer so they would not be violating policy, but they both got fired instead due to a zero-tolerance policy. They ended up getting a nice settlement because the CEO had done the same thing but not been fired for it.  

Another personal tale
One of my first management jobs was in internal audit and I had a tight team of hard-working people. One of the women went from being a solid worker to very emotional and often breaking into tears at the slightest criticism. It wasn't until her husband showed up looking to take someone's head off that I realized she was having an affair with one of the other team members. It was an ugly divorce and she ended up marrying her co-worker only to find that he was cheating on her, and that divorce was even uglier. The personal and professional collateral damage was painful to watch.

Don't do it
I get that if you are working with someone closely and you spend most of your time at work, you don't meet a lot of other people so having an affair with them can be incredibly attractive and convenient. However, the likelihood that this will end well is very low. The possibility, particularly if you are married, that this kind of affair will be a catastrophe is incredibly high. You could lose your job, your marriage, and become virtually unemployable and do the same thing to the person you are dating.

Having an affair at the office is easy, it sure looks like and can initially be fun, but the benefits are massively outweighed by the risks, which can end your career and the career of whoever you are dating.   And, speaking from experience, because I went through this as a child, it can really mess up your kids and especially your relationship with them. So I repeat, the risk just isn't worth the reward.   It really isn't. Oh, and if you think you can keep it secret, think again, in this age of cameras and social media everyplace, well, you are so kidding yourself.  


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