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The New Office Romance

By Lisa Daily

At my very first post-college, grown-up job, one of our Vice Presidents was sleeping with our Chairman. This was common knowledge at the firm, and the frequent subject of water-cooler, lunchroom and bathroom gossip, especially when their alibis were comically unrealistic, or worse, when either of their spouses popped in for a surprise visit. The grand finale of this story comes complete with uniformed guards posted at the elevators and a Jerry Springer-style screaming match between the offending vice president and the offended socialite wife.

Office romances and affairs have long been a mainstay of break room gossip-fests, but there's a brand new love affair brewing in America's cubicles. Yes, it's online dating.

According to Comscore Media Metrix, "7.9 million at-work Internet users visited Personals Web sites" in December, accounting for a whopping 35% of all time spent at these sites. In addition, the average workplace online dater "spent 51 minutes at the category, in sharp contrast to the 37 minutes spent by visitors at home."

Hmm, 51 minutes. Just enough time to grab a turkey sandwich and head back to the desk for a little lunchtime love.

Frankly, many of us are spending so much time at the office our personal lives are bound to overlap a bit. We run to the drycleaners on our coffee breaks. We make arrangements for the cake-popping Tiki dancer for Great Aunt Martha's 80th birthday bash. And, we check in at our favorite dating site to see if Mr. or Ms. Right has recently posted a profile, or to do a detailed analysis of a new prospect with an office buddy.

Here are a few things to keep in mind. First, under no circumstances do you want to be surfing an adult site while at work. Aside from being in bad taste, you could be setting yourself up for a sexual harassment suit and probably a dismissal. And second, keep in mind that many companies are legally monitoring your computer activity while you're at work, and if you cross the line (or your company policy) you could get fired.

Is online dating at work a good idea? Well, it depends on your boss, your job, and how much work time you've been devoting to your love life. A quick check over your lunch hour is probably no big deal, where as missing a meeting because you're cruising for hotties is generally not a career-enhancing plan. As with anything, online dating at work is best in moderation. And, much like making out in the copy room during the Christmas party or getting a little wild on your boss's desk after hours, it can be pretty awkward to face your next review if you happen to get caught.

© 2004 by Lisa Daily. All rights reserved.

Lisa Daily is the author of Stop Getting Dumped! All you need to know to make men fall madly in love with you and marry "The One" in 3 years or less. At bookstores everywhere. As seen in/on Cosmopolitan, The Other Half and Ricki Lake Get our FREE Dating Tips newsletter - chock-full of man-snagging techniques, at

posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 2:58 PM

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