The taboo topic: working at the same company as your significant other. Whether you met at an office happy hour or knew each other before you took your job, there can still be a lot of confusion and stigma about how to keep it professional. After receiving a lot of requests to share my personal view on this, here are a few do's and don'ts.
Check to see if your company allows dating within the workplace.
This is step number one. While some companies have no dating policies, others are more open. If dating within the company is allowed, begin to learn more about the company culture. Is it common? What are the rules if dating is allowed? In my situation, dating and married couples are allowed to work at the company, in the same office location.
Throughout my interview process, it was a known fact that my boyfriend, Matt, already had a position within the company. Being upfront throughout the process is very important. I was reassured by HR and other departments that it was okay, and not looked down upon, to date or be married to someone within the company. More importantly, the fact that I was dating someone internal didn't deter or benefit my candidacy. I made sure that I was hired solely based on my talent and skill. So to everyone who says "You only got your job because of your boyfriend", that couldn't be further from the truth.
Work in the same department or pursue a direct report relationship.
Most companies will have this rule set in stone, but if they don't, avoid this option at all costs. Here are a few issues that come with working in the same department or having your significant other as your direct report:
- You have completely mixed your personal and professional interests, creating no work/life balance.
- Your relationship becomes focused on who's better at their job than the other.
- You naturally exclude yourself from other members of your team.
- The status of your work reflects the status of your relationship. (If you break up, Mondays will be much worse).
Keep it professional.
Your company allows internal dating? Check. You manage to get jobs in different departments? Check. So, what happens once you're both in your roles? Keep it professional. A request from every one in the work force: please, no PDA. Treat your partner at work the way you would treat any other co-worker: with respect and professionalism. Send e-mails or have meetings just like you would with anyone else. Now, this doesn't mean you have to avoid each other at all costs...
While I work at a different location than my boyfriend, my role requires me to spend 1-2 days per week at his office location. On these days, we'll carpool to work together, maybe grab lunch if we're both free...and that's about it. Sometimes, we get invited to the same meetings but, in my eyes, he's just another co-worker focusing on delivering his best work and ethic. In other words, keep it completely platonic.
Get involved in each other's business.
We all have stressful days or challenges we have to overcome at work. However, whatever you do, don't get involved in your partner's issues. It's not your responsibility to make things better. I guarantee you 9/10 times, you'll just make it worse.
Support each other.
Good news: you don't have to get involved to support each other! Support is an important element in any relationship, and it's encouraged to continue that in the work place. Whenever I have questions about the business, and maybe I don't know who to ask, I ask my S.O. If we need a few words of encouragement at the end of a busy day, I'm more than happy to talk about it. Just as you would support each other's professional passions if you worked at separate companies, you support each other at the same company.
Talk about work at home.
Yes, work topics will come up when you get home after a long day. Yes, you will inevitably talk about how your day went (totally normal!). With all that being said though, work/life balance is still important. Try your best to focus on personal time by creating a disconnect from the office and home. You already dedicate 40+ hours to work during the week, make some time for the two of you. Need some ideas? Matt and I play NHL Xbox or have Netflix marathons after cooking dinner together every night.
All in all, yes, working at the same company as your significant other is possible. My personal favorite part about it is getting to see, in person, how hard my S.O. works at his job. I feel so lucky and proud to see my guy grow and aim to reach his professional dreams (+ vice versa!).
Any advice I missed? Comment below with your tips and tricks!
Stamped on 8/17/2017 by The Letter Bea