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New rules at work for Valentine's Day

Office romance
It's February and romance is in the air and so is the conversation about office romance. If you are single, work is the most likely place to meet someone, especially if you are putting crazy hours into your job. I love to hear the success stories, those people who met their spouse at work and are madly in love. But then you hear the stories of relationships gone bad like the woman who bought those billboards in Times Square to embarrass her former lover/co-worker. Even worse, technology can make rebounding from a bad romance, so much worse than in previous decades. I know someone who sent an email blast to her entire office to embarrass a co-worker who dumped her.

So, if you are going to go there and date someone you work alongside, here are 5 guidelines from etiquette expert Barbara Pachter to help you and your significant other share a copier by day and a bedroom by night without hurting your professional image:

1. Do Not Broadcast Your Relationship On Any Social Media Sites.Keep the relationship private. Your coworkers do not need to know the intimate details of your romance. No posting information or photos about your latest love interest on Facebook or sending tweets about it. You never know who will see them.

2. No Giant Billboards In Times Square! If the relationship fails—be professional and adult about it. A recent billboard in New York publicly announced the affair between Charles Phillips, co-president of Oracle Corporation, and his mistress. Even if you have been jilted and the relationship ends badly, you cannot vent your negative feelings in public. This is the risk of office relationships. They sometimes don’t work out and then you have to continue to see or work with the person.

3. No Physical Contact In The Office. No romantic displays. No secret kissing, caressing, hand holding or sex in the office. This also includes your behavior at office parties.

4. Don’t E-mail X-Rated Valentine’s Day Cards. E-mail is not private. Do not mail an unsigned Valentine’s Day card to a coworker. Being a secret admirer is not a corporate concept.

5. Your Boss Shouldn’t Be Your Valentine. Relationships are tricky enough without your boss or subordinate being your Valentine. If you are dating your boss, have your reporting relationship changed.

By the way, Pachter just published  NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead, you may want to dig into it for more workplace advice.

What do you feel are the right ingredients to turn an office romance into a success story? How do think technology makes it more complicated to date someone you work alongside?