It’s bound to happen.
You work with the same people every day at the same shitty job that consumes most of your life. Eventually, you will develop relationships with these coworkers and maybe even socialize with them outside of work. You will feel an attraction towards some, and in some rare occasions it will evolve into something sexual. Sleeping with coworkers has always been labeled “unprofessional”, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these rules and you can mix pleasure with business without destroying your career.
- The One Coworker Max Rule: It’s easy to fly under the radar if you only sleep with one coworker. That keeps the secret between two people and is much easier to contain. The longer it remains contained the longer it can continue. The more coworkers you sleep with, the larger the web of secrets will grow making it harder to contain. Worst case scenario, you turn those people against each other. This could prove to be destructive to the workplace environment and the manager may get involved. Even worse, people who you haven’t slept with will start thinking you’re a whore and start to hate you. It’s impossible to get people to help you with your work if they hate you.
- Keep it quiet: I don’t care how great the lay was, don’t tell anyone about it. That fling stays between you two. If people somehow find out, deny, deny, DENY. They have no proof. But be careful not to deny in a manner that will cut off your sex supply by saying things like “ I would never sleep with that cow”. Just say something like “that would be unprofessional”. You’ll sound like a total dork but at least your cover won’t be blown.
- Sleep up the ladder: What better way to network with upper management than to sleep with them? If you’re entry level and don’t have anyone reporting into you, then rank within the company shouldn’t effect you. If you work in management, NEVER sleep with someone who reports directly into you. If word got out it would be devastating. Even if afterwards you kept everything status quo and kept playing fair, it would appear to everyone on the team that you weren’t and could result in an influx of complaints. Sleeping with someone who ranks higher than you is never a bad idea, unless of course you’re terrible in the sack, then it’ll make things very awkward in the office, but that’s a risk no matter what rank you sleep with.
- Make sure it doesn’t interfere with business: If you work at a small company (less than 50) in which you probably see and interact with the same people every day, I would avoid the situation unless you’re looking for a serious relationship (That’s a slippery slope on its own). If you work at a large company, then it can be easier to sleep with a coworker. You probably work in a building that has multiple floors and the company probably holds multiple social events throughout the year where you see people you didn’t even know worked at your company. The below graphic provides you with an outline of what would be acceptable in this situation.
- Same team: Meaning you work with them everyday. Unless they quit, you are going to see them every day, which could make things terribly awkward if things don’t go well. Avoid this situation at all costs.
- Same Department, different teams: This means you could interact with them occasionally. You may see them everyday because you sit in the same area/floor, but when it comes to business you have no business talking to them. In this case you can walk right by them and not say a word. Tread carefully here. They may be on a different team but nothing spreads gossip faster than a chatterbox scorned.
- Same company, never interact: This means that you know they work at the same company, but you’ve never worked with them, never met them and probably never would if it hadn’t been for the company Christmas party. Free reign here.
Listen, work sucks. The last thing you need is to throw an awkward post coitus encounter in your daily routine to make it even worse. Follow these rules and maybe you can navigate the office sexual tension.
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