I met my boss this weekend. It was awkward at first because he knew me, and trying to play off the fact that I was at a loss for who the fuck he was, I called him by a bizarre name and pretended that I recognized him. Finally, someone helped me out. “Nina,” they said. “That’s your boss, Jeff.” I was only slightly embarrassed and I’m sure I more than made up for it later that night because I still have my job, right?
Wrong. Who has sex with their co-workers?
I’m not saying Jeff Gibson isn’t a good-looking man. He could even be a handsome woman if he shaved the beard and put on some rouge for once. But how tacky is workplace romance?
I know, I know, how could you resist something that starts out so perfectly? After all, you must have some common interests if you both work at the same place. You will inevitably bond over the brevity of your lunch break, the ineptitude of your managers, the length of your shifts and the distinct qualities of the customers who frequent your workplace.
Workplace flirting eventually moves from an on the job distraction to an off the clock, late night friendship. It starts off with a simple, “Hey, we should party together this weekend,” which is water cooler lingo for “I can’t hang out with you sober outside of work, but I need an easy way to get rid of this sexual tension that is building up between us.” Romance at its finest.
At this point, if you find yourselves together on Friday night, alone and shitfaced, there is a good chance the two of you will be showing up for work the next day with matching hickeys and hangovers. So, now we must discuss what the consequences of your little tryst can spell out for you and your job.
Regardless of whether or not you both enjoyed your time together, the true test will be back on the floor at work. The distraction of your hookup constantly breezing by you can momentarily blur your train of thought, pissing off both customers and superiors. Maybe one of you will become bitter toward the other, as hookups often do. But this isn’t like being bitter at your neighbor: You have to work with this person and put on a happy face for the customers and bosses. He will find out that you have been telling all the other workers that he has a tiny penis, and you will learn that they are all calling you “Cujo” behind your back because of the havoc you reeked on said member. The quality of your work can take a nosedive, and you will begin to hate your job increasingly after each shift, leaving you with two options: Wait around to be axed or take the initiative and give your two weeks’ notice so you can count down the days until you never have to see him or her again. It sucks: Hooking up can put a job that you may have liked up until that point completely on the rocks.
And beware to those who hook up with the boss. Sneaking behind closed office doors is fun, especially when no one else is wise to your little game. Not only do you get the satisfaction of clearing the desk in a fit of passion, but you also have the best way to turn a slow day around. But the two of you are in a tricky situation: You both have too much power over the other. If something goes wrong and she decides to fire you, filing a sexual harassment complaint in a bitter rage or telling another boss can get her fired, too; and, as your boss, she probably has a lot more to lose getting fired than you do. The two of you will just be waiting around for one to strike so the other can counter attack. Also, don’t expect a recommendation as you are searching for your next job.
Sure, there are relationships born out of workplace romances that work out, just like some arranged marriages end up being really pleasant. However, unless you’re willing to put your job completely at risk, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
The best thing to do is to wait for him to get fired or quit: You can get it out of your system and not have to worry about your job or talking to him again. Score.
Before this weekend, Daily Nexus sex columnist Nina Love Anthony didn’t know the pleasures that a beard can offer under the covers.