Office Romance
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40 Percent of Employees Taking Advantage of that Other Office Perk: Love

If there’s one thing American workers love, it’s each other…at least if a new survey on office romance is any indication.

According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Valentine’s Day Survey, nearly 40 percent of workers say they have dated someone they worked with over the course of their careers, and another 18 percent really get around have done so at least twice. Of those who have dated a colleague, 30 percent went on to marry that person.

The survey of more than 3,900 workers nationwide also found that, of those who have dated in the workplace, 10 percent have done so within the last year.

When it comes to gender breakdowns, more women than men report dating someone who was a superior. One in three women say they have dated someone who holds a higher position in their organization; one in five men report they have done the same. Of the 8 percent of workers who are currently crushing at the office, however, more men then women (11 percent of men versus 4 percent of women) say they currently work with someone they are interested in dating.

Office romances: Business as usual?
The survey also showed that people are getting less apologetic about having interoffice romances, too. “Workplace relationships no longer carry the stigma they once did, as 65 percent of workers said they aren’t keeping their romance a secret,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

The prevalence of office romances doesn’t surprise Haefner, either, who says that, with economic conditions forcing workers to spend more time in the office, the line between working and socializing has become blurred, creating more opportunity for deeper relationships to develop.

Despite the more relaxed attitude toward workplace romance, however, workplace romance can still be tricky, um, business. According to the survey, 6 percent of workers say they have actually left a job due to an office romance.

“It is the responsibility of the individuals to understand company policy and make sure they adhere to it,” Haefner says, adding that workers also need to keep their relationships from negatively affecting their professional behavior and the quality of their work.

Happy hours, indeed
So what is it that turns people into more than just co-workers? Is it stolen looks the across the cubicle aisle? The brushing of hands when reaching for the community stapler? Coy flirtations in the copy room?

Actually, 12 percent of workers reported that their relationships started when they ran into each other outside of work. Looking for love in all the wrong workplaces? Try these other popular events where workers say romance blossomed:

  • Happy hour
  • Lunch
  • Working late at the office
  • Company holiday party
  • Business trip

Haefner offers the following tips for workers who may want to spark a workplace romance:

  • Know your company’s policy on office dating: While some companies may have a formal policy, others may not have anything at all. Make sure both parties in the relationship are aware of potential rules or consequences.
  • Social media – office relationship friend or foe?: Before you start posting pictures and status updates about your newfound coupledom, it may be better to inform your co-workers or boss in person. That way, there is less chance for gossip or speculation.
  • Keep the relationship out of the office: Do your best to maintain professionalism and not let the dating issues affect your performance or others on the job.

January job numbers redux

Much like the comically large scale on the Biggest Loser that refuses to budge, no matter how much those hopeful contestants – and the American viewing audience – want it to, this month’s unemployment report offered nothing but disappointment and confusion for the millions of hopeful Americans looking to it for significant signs of progresss.

Disappointment because the economy generated only 36,000 net new jobs – the smallest gain in over four months – according to the BLS. At the same time, however, the unemployment rate dropped remarkably to 9 percent. That’s where the confusion comes in.

And that’s why I say we might want to take today’s jobs numbers with a grain of salt. Hear me out…

You know how when people are trying to lose weight, they’re told to pay less attention to the numbers on the scale and instead focus on how well their clothes are starting to fit? That’s the same attitude we should take with today’s unemployment report.

Why? Because, in the words of Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics:

“I think these numbers are meaningless,” Zandi told CNBC this morning, pointing out both the weather’s role in the modest job creation, as well as the obvious discrepancy between the household survey numbers (which include self-employed and agricultural workers) and the unemployment survey numbers (which don’t).

Zandi also noted that “January has historically been the month the BLS has had the most difficulty getting right. I would not read anything into any of these numbers.”

I agree. (Because it’s also worth mentioning that Gallup’s numbers also conflict with those released by the BLS today. Confusing!) So I propose that rather than trying to make sense of how good or bad these numbers really are, we should focus instead on what is in plain sight…

…which is that CareerBuilder continues to see a steady growth in employers posting jobs on our site: proof that employers are hiring and jobs are increasing – and they’re doing so at a steady rate. Take a look at the facts:

  • Overall job postings on CareerBuilder are up 6 percent year over year.
  • Business development job postings are up 18 percent
  • Customer service job postings are up 28 percent
  • IT job postings are up 45 percent
  • Sales job postings are up 23 percent

For further insight into the jobs numbers, check out the following video of the CNBC interview mentioned above: