Q: I really like a single female co-worker. I think she likes me, she doesn't have a boyfriend, and we spend lots of time together. I think she could...

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Q: I really like a single female co-worker. I think she likes me, she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and we spend lots of time together. I think she could be “the one.” Is there a way to safely pursue love at work?

A: Mixing love and work is always risky business. When office affairs go sour, the bitter aftertaste can ruin your reputation and get you fired.

When my clients have a crush on a co-worker, I ask them to think thoroughly about the potential fallout.

I also advise them to strictly avoid anyone you report to or who reports to you. Lastly, I tell them the best reason to pursue love at work is if you already have a friendship with someone and strongly believe the relationship has long-term potential.

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Be forewarned: People who get involved at work need to rapidly make decisions about becoming a serious couple. Many organizations have serious penalties for office romances. One or both of you may need to change jobs or companies.

However, if you find yourself frequently slipping into fantasies about your life together, 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and where you’ll retire, the risk may be worth it.

Make darn sure you’ve spent plenty of time together getting to really know your co-worker. What are his/her values, religion, politics and goals? Gazing across a room some enchanted afternoon and deciding that a new co-worker is your soulmate is a bad idea if you know nothing about the person.

If you want to pursue the relationship, take your co-worker out to lunch to talk. If your co-worker is interested, you’ll both need to make a fast decision about being in a committed relationship or stop dating.

The last word(s)

Q: My boss has promoted several co-workers who constantly brag about their accomplishments. Do I have to become arrogant to get a raise?

A: No, but you do need to learn that people who get promoted also “promote” themselves.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube