Cupid in the Cubicle -- He Strikes More Often Than You'd Think

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office romance More than half of your colleagues at work have been involved in a little a little sumpin' sumpin' at the office, and chances are that even you have succumbed as well. According to the annual Office Romance Survey conducted by Vault.com, 59 percent of respondents said that they have participated in some form of office romance, whether it was a one-night stand, a casual relationship, a long-term commitment, or all of the above.

"Good economy or bad economy -- we spend more than half of our day at work, and those same colleagues are often invited to socialize after work, creating opportunities to blur from professional to personal," noted Jason Levin, a career expert at Vault.com.

"Whether that's OK or not depends on the people involved, Levin said. "Your reputation in and out of the office could be in serious jeopardy depending on how each party handles the end of the relationship. Those involved need to go into this type of relationship with both eyes open, knowing the risks and having a plan to deal with an office romance if it goes sour."

Vault's Office Romance Survey was conducted in January 2011 and consists of responses from 2,083 employees representing various industries across the United States, split almost equally among gender and age lines, although slightly skewed toward 25-30-year-olds.

Respondents discussed their office romance -- the outcome, the impact, and whether or not they would enter into another relationship with a co-worker, in addition to juicier details about workplace trysts, cheating co-workers, supervisor-subordinate relationships and the controversy around whether office romances have led to unfair favoritism.

Some of the more interesting findings included:

  • More men than women reported participating in a random office hook-up (23.3 percent of men, as opposed to only 15.4 percent of women)
  • More women said they had participated in a long-term, serious relationship (22.2 percent as compared to 14.7 percent for men)
  • 67.1 percent of men who had previously engaged in an office romance would do it again, as compared to only 55.7 percent of women
  • Only 7.7 percent of men left a company because of an office romance. Women, on the other hand, left almost twice as often: 13.2 percent of the time
  • Those more willing to take romantic risks tended to be younger: 11.5 percent of respondents ages 18-21 were more willing, as compared to 4.7 percent of those between ages 35 and 39 and only 1.6 percent of those over 50
  • 35.9 percent of professionals in the accounting industry said they had known married co-worker to have an affair at the office, and even fewer (18.4 percent) said they had known a married or seriously involved co-worker who had a romantic liaison while on a business trip

According to one respondent, "We work so much. If I were single, why would I pass up an opportunity to date someone cool just because I work with her? It's all about maintaining a separation between work and romance."

Another respondent said: "No. There is simply too much at risk on both a professional and private basis. The risks far outweigh the rewards." And one more noted, "You do what you have to do to move up the ranks."


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