The debate about whether or not to date someone at work has never had an easy, simple solution. 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 Work?
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.
As you can see,
From 1970 until the end of the 20th century, older workers—which BLS defines as those ages 55 and older—made up the smallest segment of the labor force. In the 1990s, however, these older workers began to increase their share of the labor force, while workers in younger age groups started to have declines in their labor force shares. And by 2003, the older age group no longer had the smallest share.
By 2024, BLS projects that the labor force will grow to about 164 million people. That number includes about 41 million people who will be ages 55 and older—of whom about 13 million are expected to be ages 65 and older.
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.
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 someone at work. And make sure you have an exit strategy you can live with!
You might also want to check out some alternatives to socializing and dating in the workplace. Read this related article on social groups for singles over 60 and how to find them. Local social groups and clubs are far less risky than dating in the workplace!
And, of course, online dating sites abound with seniors like you, looking for love, companionship and possibly a long term partner.
FAQs on Dating Someone at Work When You’re Single Over 60
Many companies have specific policies on workplace relationships, which might vary from complete prohibition to disclosure requirements. Such policies often aim to prevent conflicts of interest or claims of favoritism.
If the relationship ends poorly, it could lead to awkwardness, tension, and even affect your work environment. It might also result in difficulty collaborating or communicating professionally with the person post-breakup.
Secret workplace relationships can lead to complications, especially if discovered. This might include breaching company policies, potential disciplinary actions, or creating an uncomfortable atmosphere at work.
The workplace offers ample opportunities for social interactions, and spending extensive time together creates a bond. This prolonged exposure often leads to a deeper understanding of a person compared to typical dating scenarios.
Even in a less high-stakes job, dating a colleague can still lead to complications like potential office drama, gossip, or even implications on your professional reputation and work environment.
Dating in the workplace can carry numerous negative consequences, such as risking one’s job, reputation damage, fostering discomfort in the office, and even potential legal issues.
Setting clear boundaries, avoiding dating superiors or subordinates, and keeping personal matters separate from work are essential for maintaining professionalism and minimizing potential risks.
It’s vital to evaluate personal values and integrity before dating a co-worker, ensuring that they align with your beliefs and what you perceive as appropriate behavior.
Exploring social groups and clubs outside of work can provide opportunities to meet new people without the potential complications of workplace relationships. And, of course, online dating sites abound with other seniors looking for people to date and long term relationships.
Understanding personal values is crucial for finding an ideal partner, and blending workplace romance with unclear core values could lead to complications and potential future issues in the relationship.
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