For most single professionals, the main avenue that they have for meeting new people is work. Let's face it - we Americans are there a lot, so what better place than work to meet someone with whom you share common interests?
You really need to adopt the philosophy of "know thyself" in order to gain an honest answer to this question, but here are 5 things to consider when you're looking around at the dating pool about whether or not to jump in at work.
1. Are you okay with your boss being part of your dating life?
When you date someone at work, it's always a good idea to be upfront and let your boss know what's going on. It's a little like dealing with your mom - you don't want her finding out about something like that from anyone but you. But it can create its own set of awkward circumstances, depending on how your relationship is with your boss. If you're not good with your boss knowing, then don't.
2. Does your Human Resources department have a policy about dating people in the office?
This is a little bit of a no-brainer, but check your handbook and make sure that dating someone you work with won't be against company policy.
3. Do you need "you time" to maintain balance in your life?
If you're the type of person who needs to have their own hobbies and passions to keep yourself invigorated, dating at work may not be for you, because you won't get much of a "break" from your partner.
4. If the object of your affection is a superior, are you okay with what the office gossip may say?
When you date someone at work, invariably you will be grist for the office rumor mill, and you really do just have to be okay with that. If you try to hide the relationship, it can make it even more of a headache. Be upfront and honest with people, and if someone asks you a question about your personal life that is none of their business, you can simply smile and say "why do you want to know?"
5. How do you feel about your other exes?
This is really key -- if you've had less-than-graceful exits from past relationships and things usually have ended badly, you need to consider if you could break up with someone you work with. It's never good to be in a bad relationship, but if you can't see yourself handling the situation if you weren't dating anymore, then maybe it's just not the right thing to pursue.
Can you date someone you work with? Absolutely. Some of the best, most successful couples I know either met at work or still work together. It does present its fair share of challenges, but as long as you're prepared and the two of you keep the lines of communication open, it can lead to great things.