Some Workplaces Encouraging Office Romance

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From The New York Times
By Stephanie Rosenbloom

SOON after word spread that Sarah Kay and Matt Lacks were conducting an office romance, Ms. Kay found herself in the office of the director of human resources. There was a time when such a meeting would have signaled a death knell for the relationship, and even jeopardized the employees’ careers.

Yet as Ms. Kay, 29, cheerfully recounted, the human resources director told her, “We’re just all really glad that you made a friend.”

That some people believe they can openly date co-workers without endangering their job reflects what those who study the workplace and several surveys suggest: the conventional wisdom about dating the heart-stirrer in the next cubicle is going the way of Wite-Out.

Tango’s Take

Ah, the dipping of the quill in the company ink. We know it not so well. At Tango, we have a strict ‘touch not lest you be chastised by HR’ policy. And it would sort of be like kissing your brother (if you’re a girl) or your sister (if you are a girl or boy) at this point. At any rate, it seems like the whole dating your coworkers taboo was not so prominent until the early nineties. We probably have Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill to thank for that. Quick aside: Chris Rock says that the difference between sexual harassment and flirting is usually how good-looking and suave the guy is. In Rock’s estimation, if Denzel Washington had said some dirty things, Hill would have laughed and replied, “Denzel, you so nasty.” We’re not saying it’s true, just a funny perspective.
In all honesty, it is probably better this way. A) In the 60’s and 70’s, many of the at work relationships were dudes buggering their secretaries, impregnating them and having to ‘do the right thing.’ B) The dark years for inter-office romance were pretty exciting. Using codes and having to immediately change the subject (you are NOW off speaker phone) was pretty awesome. They gave everyone a little perspective about how good they had it before. C) Workplace equality. Sure there is not true workplace equality, and some experts think that sexual harassment lawsuits may have pushed us away from equality, but it seems like things have improved more in the last 15 years than in any in history for women in the workplace. Our advice, study your company’s policy, find that guy in finance that looks like he works out, ask him for a drink, and promise yourself that you won’t get weird about things this time. And don’t forget to sign a love contract like The Office’s Michael and Jann.

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