By Anna Johansson • July 28, 2017•Careers
When you’re an attractive, single woman at a law firm, dating opportunities are plentiful, but how you handle such situations will likely have an impact on your career as well as your personal life. Make sure to proceed with caution.
Tips for Making an Office Romance Work
According to one study on marriage, more than 37 percent of couples meet for the first time at work or in school (which makes these the number-one meeting locale for future married couples). Office romances are more commonplace than you might think.
When you examine office romances in particular, 39 percent of workers say they’ve dated a coworker at least once, while 17 percent report having done it multiple times. Although most relationships develop between peers, 29 percent of workers report they’ve dated someone above them on the corporate ladder.
About 16 percent admit to dating their boss, and women are more likely to go out with someone higher up in the organization: 38 percent compared to 21 percent of men.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re interested in someone in your firm, you should make sure to handle a developing relationship the right way. Below are a few of the best practices for juggling dating and work when they appear likely to become hopelessly intertwined.
1. Take Things Slowly
Slow is a good word when it comes to dating within the office. There’s nothing wrong with spending a little time together with your new interest by going on a few dates, but moving too quickly will create an unstable foundation for your relationship and is more likely to have a negative impact on productivity at work. If your dating partner really respects you and is in the relationship for the right reasons, he should have no problem with taking the process a little more carefully than usual.
2. Stop Talking About Work
When you find yourself on that first real date outside of the office, it’ll be tempting to talk about work. It’s the strongest connection between the two of you, and so easy to dive right into discussing a brief or upcoming hearing – but don’t do it!
Hardly anything is less imaginative or appealing than going on about work outside the workplace. There will be plenty of time for that when you’re billing one of your 2,500-plus hours for the year. Use social time to get to know each other’s personal side.
3. Create Some Separation
If things start to get more serious and you and your co-worker officially become a couple, it becomes awfully easy to kick things into high gear and lose sight of tip number one. The biggest pitfall in dating someone at your office is that your work-life balance can go out the window.
If you aren’t careful, you’ll start spending time with your partner before work, at work, after work, and throughout the weekends … but you need a little personal time! Make sure you get it.
One of the biggest sticking points will involve the decision about whether to live together. At least initially, the best piece of advice is to avoid it.
It may be safer for each of you to find an apartment near the other without actually having to share the same space. This will provide you with at least a few hours of privacy each day, but still be able to spend plenty of time together inside and outside the office.
Focus On Your Career
It’s so easy to lose sight of your career goals when you get those butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes one look is all it takes to get you thinking about someone in a different way.
And though there’s nothing inherently wrong with inter-law firm dating, you must be careful. You career has to remain your number-one priority. When you’re clear about that, everything else will fall into place.