Dating someone at work has always been a sticky situation. There are things to consider in a workplace romance that you won’t encounter in normal dating (if there is such a thing!)
- Are there company policies and rules about dating?
- What are they?
- If it’s ok with company policy, what happens if it doesn’t work out?
- What happens if I secretly date a co-worker?
These questions raise further questions, as you’ll see in a minute.
Should I Date Someone at My Retirement Job?
Of course, if you’re retired, love in the workplace won’t be an issue. But the trend for mature workers is rising, and has been doing so for decades as the chart below from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows.
The BLS also says that in the 65-74 age bracket, 32% are expected to be working by 2022, an increase from 20% in 2002. And in the 75+ category, it’s predicted to jump from 5% in 2002 to 11% in 2022.
In most cases the pressure at a retirement job is probably not the same as it was during your main earning years. For example, it’s probably part time and not your main source of income. It might be relatively low-level so you might not care too much about losing the job.
Whatever your work situation, the odds are still good you’ll be tempted to date someone you work with if you are single and dating.
Why People Find Love in the Workplace
We spend a lot of time together with people at work, more so than almost anyone else.
It’s easy to get to really know someone intimately. You glean a lot more information in person than you do by reading an online dating profile and going on lots of first and second dates.
Yet just because you have a high level of intimacy with someone doesn’t mean they’re right for you. Remind yourself of that fact when you find yourself thinking about dating your colleague.
The Stigma of Dating in the Workplace
It’s well-known that a workplace romance can have several negative consequences, especially if you’re dating your boss.
- Depending on company policy, you risk losing your job.
- You risk damaging your reputation.
- You risk being uncomfortable at work and making others uneasy, too.
- You risk office drama.
- You risk being the subject of gossip and discrimination.
- You risk harassment claims.
- You risk litigation if things go awry.
The consequences alone might be enough to curb your desire to date a co-worker. But according to CareerBuilder’s annual Valentine’s Day survey, 36% of workers in various industries say they have engaged in an office romance.
Despite the milder consequences of dating a colleague at a retirement job, I believe it comes down to a matter of personal integrity. Does it fit with your core values, with what you believe is good and right?
Nobody can answer that question for you. If you haven’t figured it out, take some time to get to know yourself better before you start dating again.
Dating without a solid understanding of your core values makes it difficult to find an ideal partner. Mix that in with dating at work and you have a potential Lifetime movie in the making!
Tips for Dating in the Workplace
Some general office dating tips from Careerbuilder.com:
- Avoid two kinds of co-workers: those who you report to and those who report to you.
- If you are dating, keep your personal stuff out of the office.
- Don’t let your workplace romance influence your relationship with colleagues.
I suspect most of us in our 60’s and beyond have seen enough drama and we’re not looking for more in the workplace.
Considering all the risks, it pays to be alert if you think you might want to date a co-worker. And make sure you have an exit strategy you can live with!
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