My Workplace Wish For Valentine’s Day: Be a Grown-Up and Keep It Light

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I know you are involved with someone at work.

In many instances, this could be an exciting development in your life. It is very common to meet and fall in love with a colleague. You spend so much time together. You might as well get dinner and a movie out of your job. (This was my attitude, by the way. Then I married the guy.)

For others, your relationship at work would not pass the sunshine test. If people found out, no one would understand.

Hard to keep professional and personal separate

But listen, I understand. You spend a gazillion hours at work. Your primary relationship has cracks. You feel a need to find a connection in the world. And if work causes you grief and only gives you a 2.5 percent COLA, why not have a friend in the process?

I am not here to judge your relationships at work. I am here to tell you that it’s tough to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, but you should strive for clarity and boundaries.

If you are legitimately dating someone at the office, don’t send flowers to her desk on Valentine’s Day. Send them to her home. Be a grown-up.

If you are hooking up with someone at the office, don’t risk your primary relationship and feel pressured by Valentine’s Day to make a of declaration of affection. Your coworkers are watching you. They will see it.

Keep it light on Valentine’s Day

If there is love in your life in any manner, that is great. But you have work to do. You better get back to it.

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I want to make one another point about love at work. No matter your relationship status, remember that some people in your office are tremendously lonely. They don’t feel loved.

Valentine’s Day is physically hard for them. If you feel the need to celebrate, be inclusive and keep it light. I recommend bringing Dove dark chocolates and maybe some donuts to the office.

In fact, bring them to me. I will take responsibility for the official HR Valentine’s Day party.


This was originally published on Laurie Ruettimann’s The Cynical Girl blog.

Laurie Ruettimann is a former human resources leader turned writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is also author of Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career.

CNN has recognized Laurie as one of the top five career advisors in the United States, and her work has been featured on NPR, The New YorkerUSA TodayThe Wall Street Journal, and Vox. Laurie frequently delivers keynote speeches at business and management events around the world and hosts the popular podcast Punk Rock HR. She lives with her husband and cats in Raleigh, North Carolina.