Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dating Your Boss: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

By Ethan Vernon, senior Chinese and international affairs major at CU-Boulder

So your co-worker is cute and you’re thinking about making your move, but you’re held back by the possible unforeseen consequences of doing so. Attraction is natural, and so it inevitably may find its way into the workplace. However, the workplace is where the pedal is put to the metal for a paycheck, but if you divert attention to your emotional needs, will this affect your output? What about when the object of your affection is also in charge of your raises and promotions?

Like any decision, deciding to date your boss can be considered in light of a cost-benefit analysis. The benefits are the largely the same as any other relationship.

However, the costs are slightly more. With the usual risk of emotional damage, dating your boss also comes with additional break-up costs. You will be seeing this person 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, so if things go south, this sort of interaction could lead to awkward office encounters.  Additionally, the cost of an office relationship can include maintaining gossip, defending against claims of favoritism, and, when company policy forbids such a relationship, lying to co-workers lest you and your significant other face termination. Lastly, you should consider whether or not you want a clean break between your work life and your social life. Dating your boss, or any coworker for that matter, has a tendency to bring work home.

Should you pursue a relationship with your boss? First, if this question comes up, consider whether it is sparked by physical attraction or if there truly is an emotional component. Emotions can be difficult to rein in, and continuous interaction will only make an emotional bond even stronger. If it comes to this, the best advice is to pursue alternative employment opportunities. You should avoid dating your boss, but if a relationship does develop, then strongly consider looking elsewhere for work. This way, you will be able to follow your heart, while avoiding all the additional costs that come with an in-office relationship.