Dating a Coworker - Yay or Nay?

Hey guys - my personal stance has always been to date someone outside of your field/firm, but I'd like to hear contrarian views on this particular subject. 

For those of you who have dated coworkers/colleagues, how did it go? Did it create tension or leave to someone leaving the firm? 

For those of you who would never do this, because as Ross Geller says, "Don't Dip Your Pen in the Company Ink", what are your views on it? 

Now if I'm asking for your views, it's only fair I provide mine. 

Reasons Against Dating Colleagues/Coworkers

  • Creates tension at the eventual breakup (unless it's one of very few breakups that are mutual).

  • Limits yourself to the group of people; if you only interact with finance people from x firm or x university, then your views won't be challenged as much as they could be nor gain exposure on other things.

  • May be made public to other coworkers creating awkward tension before or after the breakup.

Alright, Monkeys... I've shown you mine, now show me yours.

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Comments (28)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 19, 2021 - 10:27am

Two scenarios where it can work and I've seen it work:

1) completely different groups where you will have 0 interaction with each other. A girl in healthcare and a guy in tech might never see each other at my firm.

2) one of the people is about to leave in the next ~6 months

Goes without saying, in today's day and age it's very risky, so if you are going to do it, it should be a girl/ guy you are trying to marry not a hookup. Even then, things can go really badly, so the reward just isn't worth the potential risk. It shouldn't be that hard to wait until you finish an analyst stint and one of the people leaves imo.

Edit: just to add as well, bankers are risk averse, so the odds even if the other person is interested in you they say no to a date/ hookup/ whatever just due to the risk alone is high. You almost need two people with poor judgement unless it's one of the scenarios above.

Most Helpful
Oct 19, 2021 - 10:38am

Can chime in as someone who swore to never date a coworker despite plenty of opportunities, eventually did, and regretted it. Also, despite what people may say a 'mutual' breakup rarely rarely rarely exists. Yes, I've had those as well but if we are being honest there is generally someone more hurt than the other. If you are that person then seeing your ex around the office every day can be gut wrenching - especially when she dates a new coworker lol

A ton of noteworthy cons you may not realize at first.

-People will talk/gossip about you, which is ok if you are fine with it / dont care, but just know youll get probed all the time, at work happy hours, etc. 

- It can be awkward to randomly see a partner around the office because who you are outside of work or at home with them compared to at work is likely different. Takes time getting used to this

- When you work together all your strengths and shortcomings are laid bare. Got passed over for a promotion by another guy? Had a bad month at work because a project went south? Maybe she got promoted above you? These can all be damaging to the ego and if we are being honest, her perspective of you. I like dating women in other fields (ie. medicine) that have no idea what I do, and I have no idea what they do - much more than someone who might wonder why I'm not VP yet at a certain age based on her peers. This may sound dumb but if you dont work together then when dating you can always be the 'alpha' 'leader' whatever term, when working together that isnt the case

- have no where to let your hair down, which matters early in a relationship. Nice to go someplace and not care about appearances 100%. If newly dating someone you have to be on your game around the clock - exhausting if you work together

- as mentioned above the breakups are like a daily gut punch if you work closely together

My reco is if you date a coworker then ideally you work at a large enough firm where you can date someone in a completely different business unit (marketing, HR, whatever) and dont have to see with or work with on a day to day basis. Organically growing a relationship at work can be a great thing but just know the risks

Oct 19, 2021 - 11:54am

Risky business. I started dating, now married with fam. I left soon after we started dating to create that separation. I think dating just to date and to add people to the pool is silly (unless you go outside your group / someone you really don't interact with often). But if there's a connection that might be real, there's a risk-reward that might be worth seeing through

Oct 19, 2021 - 2:07pm

I dated someone in the office for about six months or so. She was in another team so there wasn't too much potential for tension, and we kept it quiet to avoid drama (although people did pry about it because they'd see us going for walks, getting lunch together etc). It was actually kinda fun, making out in the elevator, finding excuses to leave events at the same time without being obvious, and just having someone to take 5 minutes with when I was feeling stressed out and wanted a break. 

That said, I was lucky because she was very forward about being interested. While I'd be happy to date a colleague, I'd be super cautious of making a first move on a colleague unless I knew them super well already and could trust that they wouldn't make a big deal out of it if I read the signs wrong. 

Oct 19, 2021 - 4:31pm

This is an interesting question. I've been very attracted to 1 or 2 girls I worked with and wanted something, so I can see where you're coming from in your question. Think also in banking (analyst years) that you can form tunnel vision with a girl (e.g., you both work 100+ hrs a week in the same group and are around each other all the time, meanwhile you're spending some low percentage of the other 68 hrs with other friends, so other relationships are deemphasized). 

I think you want to be really careful engaging with the opposite sex in the workplace. In today's environment, there's a thin line between harassment and flirtation --- you don't want to get caught in that web. As a man --- don't ever let your partner in crime below the waist cloud your judgment. And always make sure you have a solid read on a girl before moving forward. The stakes are much higher in a work environment.

But if you're past that point, and you know the other person shares your feelings, I honestly think it would be ideal for you both to be friends with benefits and keep the relationship hidden from others. Being in a fully-blown relationship with a girl you work with will ultimately spread like wildfire at the office, and (at the least) you'll be the center of gossips and other unwanted attention. At most HR will take notice, which can be problematic. I never dated at the office, but there was a female in my group (analyst/associate level) who dated a male in another group (also analyst/associate). They never got in trouble, but they would get a lot of attention and would be the topic of occasional small-talk. The guy would come around to our side of the office to meet up with his GF and it would get real awkward and quiet because people were nosy and wanted to hear what they saying to each other and see how they were interacting. It's literally like high school all over again, not even joking. I don't think a relationship can be optimal in these conditions --- just think there's a lot of white noise here that you don't want to be dealing with. Conversely, if youre both boinking and dating (unofficially) outside the office on your own time (under the table), think you get the upside of being intimate while avoiding the downside of getting unwanted attention. If you absolutely need to be in a formal relationship, you should seriously consider switching jobs.

Lastly, I'd disclaim here to you really need to think about the point I made above regarding tunnel vision. Really question if you're attracted to a girl for the right reasons, or if it's because she's the only girl you're dealing with on a daily basis.

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Oct 20, 2021 - 9:50am

The tunnel vision thing is 100% spot on, especially at that age where most people have less dating experience.

As you get older you kind of realize relationships are what they are. It's called 'young love' for a reason. But I remember a small handful of times from 22-28 of getting love sick from girls I'd have crushes on at work or had a relationship with. The brain knows not to fall pray but sometimes the brain is overruled

Funniest
Oct 19, 2021 - 5:21pm

FinnesseGod

Hey guys - my personal stance has always been to date someone outside of your field/firm, but I'd like to here 

Here? I cringed.

-

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 4
Oct 19, 2021 - 9:08pm

You da man

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Oct 19, 2021 - 5:27pm

I never dated a coworker, but had some sparks with another coworker and then she got fired and I resigned in the same day and we went out immediately and got hammered and hooked up. She wanted to date but I only wanted fwb with her. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Oct 19, 2021 - 5:43pm

You don't fish off the company dock unless you think she is marriage material.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Oct 23, 2021 - 3:18pm

Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎

You don't fish off the company dock unless you think she is marriage material.

I'm not sure this is a strong enough statement.  Don't date in your industry period.  (then again that's led me to dating many actors and dancers-- they're all messes)

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Oct 20, 2021 - 1:00pm

Generally I would advise against it, but the sex is usually significantly amplified if you manage to do it in the office / staircases, etc.

My recommended solution is to date somebody from the same building, but not the same firm. Work on your elevator pitch.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - DCM
Oct 20, 2021 - 2:14pm

I have been dating and now live with a girl for over 2 years and we met at a bank. Work is a great place to meet each other given you take some common sense precautions. We have similar WLB lifestyles which is huge, similar interest, similar goals, similar mentalities on careers etc.

1) Take it slow. hang out as friends at minimum ~5 times outside of work to test compatibility

2) Dont look in the same group with same direct reports. You should not share the same boss for at least two levels up IMO

3) Don't chat on internal systems. Your boss is watching that shit

4) Dont hookup until you get on the same page. Once you hook up and realize you are both not looking for something serious, shit will go downhill

5) Dont tell people until you are seriously dating for >6 months. Co-Workers don't need to get involved in your dating life

Anyways, I think it's a natural place to meet a long term partner because the mere fact you both got jobs in banking probably increases likelihood of compatibility. Just be smart and no hook ups

Oct 20, 2021 - 8:52pm

I think if you and the coworker are the type looking for a serious relationship then I think it is worth the downside risk at the company for the chance to be with a lifetime companion.

People get new jobs all the time.  Keep it professional and discreet.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
Oct 21, 2021 - 12:33am

Usually not worth it in today's hypersensitive environment. At a place like work where the person is unavoidable things can get real dicey. If you can pull it off without making others skeptical then I suppose you can go for it but its all fun and games until you're in HR because she's caught sour grapes and just makes some shit up. Even if it doesnt get to that extreme the possibility of rumors flying becomes another thing. I just wouldn't want to deal with that nonsense around the office.

Oct 21, 2021 - 2:53pm

Done it before. There are many "it depends" but the simple answer is no. The risk is not worth the reward, and I don't so much mean career risk as I mean risk to your mental peace and the like. Good times are, of course, good, but bad times will come and it's nice to separate work from pleasure. Similar idea to don't mix family and business

 

 

 

 

Oct 23, 2021 - 8:42am

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