Office romance and hookups are generally a recipe for disaster, don’t let The Office fool you. But this doesn’t stop a whole host of people thinking that it will actually end up working out for them.
One employee stumbled across their boss and an intern hooking up at an office party, so they asked the internet for advice. Netizens shared their suggestions and similar stories of holiday party antics. We reached out to PuzzBat9019 via Reddit and will update the post when they get back to us.
Coming across a workplace hookup can be both mortifying and puzzling
Image credits: Pavel Danilyuk / pexels (not the actual photo)
One worker saw their boss and an intern up to no good at a company Christmas party
Image credits: Alina Ananko / pexels (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Loc Dang / pexels (not the actual photo)
Image credits: PuzzBat9019
Workplace romances can be a nightmare in some situations
Despite common sense, HR guidelines, and a plethora of horror stories, some research suggests that workplace romance is on the rise. There is a certain logic to it, we spend a significant amount of time with our coworkers, often going through the same hardships. The idea of a work-husband or work-wife comes from the very real experience that only your coworkers can truly understand what you go through every day.
While the heart wants what it wants, it’s pretty important to take a step back and think about the consequences. First and foremost, you might risk your job. Hallmark movies might suggest that a relationship trumps a career, but we still have bills and mortgages to pay, irrespective of romantic status. On top of that, leaving a good job only to break up later is a pretty tragic ending to any love story.
Even worse, a breakup while both of you still work at the same place can turn a normal job into a hostile working environment overnight. Imagine working in the same room as your ex. You could go to HR to talk about the passive aggression and hostile working environment, but this would be divulging a relationship with a coworker. And if HR knows, they will probably tell you that this is your fault, one of the rare cases where HR would be right about this sentiment.
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Some companies take a creative approach to this issue
The upside is that many of your co-workers might not care that much. While a subordinate-manager relationship is definitely a problem and will be looked down upon, research indicates that most people don’t really mind their coworkers dating. As long as PDA is kept in check and it doesn’t affect their work, the majority of the population believes that it’s best to live and let live.
This is why HR needs to walk a very fine line. Outright banning relationships will just drive them “underground,” with the potential for more destructive fallout later. At the same time, there have to be rules in place so some folks don’t start to see their office as a speed-dating event. Meta, for example, allows workers to ask out their colleagues, but only once. Interestingly, perhaps in a bid to get people back in the office, they have to have met a coworker before asking them out as well.
However, the key point here is that the relationship is relatively open and that there isn’t fraternization between a boss and a subordinate. In this case, it’s even more extreme, as it’s a married man with an intern. Consensual or not (something that also has to be considered, given the power dynamics) this is professionally unacceptable.
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OP likely needs to say something about what they saw
Not only is this a lawsuit waiting to happen, but studies show that a worker who dates or hooks up with a boss tends to lose all goodwill from their coworkers. After all, whether on purpose or not, this worker will get preferential treatment, that’s just the way of the world. At the same time, this boss’s judgment will be questioned, as they will no longer be seen as making decisions based on the good of the company.
All in all, OP should at least approach this intern. While we are missing a lot of details, it is better to be safe than sorry. At the same time, as some comments note, this could work out well for OP. The boss will know that they were caught and that OP still kept their mouth shut. This is a solid bargaining chip. At the same time, wishful thinking can always play a role, perhaps the boss will simply pretend it didn’t happen.
Image credits: Ivan Samkov / pexels (not the actual photo)