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How to Deal With Relationships in the Workplace/How to be mature about dating in the workplace

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Question
Hi Alice,
I am interested in going on a date with a vendor who sells product to my company. I am a floral buyer and he works for a floral wholesaler. Let's say we do decide to start dating. What would be the mature way to handle it? Should I tell my boss?

The man I'm interested in is my only point of contact at the wholesaler. However, I have the option of going through their office instead of him if I wanted to. He is also the point of contact for the 8 other stores in our company. All the stores are in competition with each other and I am concerned people will feel I'm receiving preferential treatment if they were to find out we were dating. I am afraid I would be asked to step down from my position. I have worked hard in my department and raised sales over 200% compared to last year and I want people know it's because I'm good at what I do.

I am interested in the opportunity to get to know him better, but am not sure what I would do in the event it doesn't work. It would be no big deal after 1-2 dates, but what if it becomes more and we end up having a bad break up?

Also, what advice can you give about keeping your work frustrations separate from your relationship?

Answer
Hi Ali,

It would appear that dating this man would create at least the appearance of a conflict of
interest on your job.  That being the case, my advice is to talk to your boss about it.

Let your boss know you are interested in a dating relationship with the vendor. Make it clear
you value your job, have worked very hard for all you've accomplished, and don't want to do anything that might jeopardize your position in any way.

You hold a trump card in one regard, and that is you can bypass the vendor and deal with the office instead of him, thereby removing the perceived conflict.  Depending on your boss' reaction, offer this as a compromise negotiation for a win-win for both of you.  By not dealing directly with the vendor, you also avoid potential problems down the road should the relationship get serious and possibly end with a bad break-up.

It is difficult to keep work frustrations from spilling over into personal relationships. The
best way to do this is to have a close confidante you can trust either at work or away from work to whom you can vent and get feedback. It's best you not talk to the vendor about work issues as you don't want to give him insider information that could be used to your detriment or your agency's should things go badly with you two down the road.  

If your agency has an Employee Assistance Program, (EAP), consider utilizing those services to talk about workplace drama/issues.  EAP services are totally confidential, so unless you sign a release for your boss to get info, no one will know that you are using the service.  Another suggestion is to have an ongoing stress management program that you use consistently, meditation, yoga, zumba, working out at the gym, etc.  This will allow you to physically work off job and personal stress in a healthy way and keep you fit and energetic to continue to blast sales quotients.

Take care.  I wish you well.

Alice J,. Bogert  

How to Deal With Relationships in the Workplace

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alice bogert

Expertise

I can field questions related to employee-employee relationship issues as well as employee-manager relationship issues.

Experience

I supervised staff at the county and federal level for over 25 years. I have extensive experience dealing with employee disputes, management employee disagreements, morale issues, managing change, etc. I teach a variety of leadership and conflict resolution classes.

Organizations
National Association of Retired Federal Employees, Business Women of America.

Education/Credentials
I have a Masters Degree in Sociology.

Awards and Honors
Three Quality Step Merit Awards for Excellence while employed with the federal government. Numerous awards for training classes I've done.

Past/Present Clients
Private industry, Los Rio Community College District, federal, state and county government

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