Don’t Sh*t Where You Eat

We’ve heard this phrase tons of times: “Don’t sh*t where you eat”, meaning don’t date someone in your workplace. At first I doubted how much it made sense, but I have seen too many occasions which have proved otherwise. Of course, I only learned my lesson until I experienced it first-hand.

Working at a bank has it’s perks. Even when you tell a female family member that you work in a bank, they automatically assume that your future husband will be a fellow employee, a client, a manager, etc.. It can get kind of annoying when mothers and aunts expect you to “find someone” at work, especially when you know that only the opposite is true. My experience wasn’t terribly awkward, but I still feel embarrassed every time I remember the way it all happened.

We were in an elevator, and I had just seen him for the first time ever. I had no idea what his name was or which department he was under; all I knew is that he was incredibly handsome and worked on the 6th floor.
Opportunities arose in the coming weeks in which I had to visit the 6th floor to get some paperwork signed. As I entered the manager’s office, my heart skipped a beat. There he was, sitting in the visitor’s chair, sipping Turkish coffee and flipping through his daily planner. I boldly said hello and introduced myself, and for the next few days, I would visit the 6th floor to complete the paperwork I had been assigned with his boss.

One morning, Mr. Handsome called out to me from his cubicle, and I swear I felt my knees buckle. He pointed at his visitors chair, motioning for me to come and have a cup of coffee with him. I tried to contain my excitement, and over a cup of coffee and chocolate wafers, we got to know each other on a more personal level. We exchanged numbers and he texted me often, being polite yet modestly flirtatious.

I may or may not have read into his actions too much, but I felt myself catching feelings after a couple of weeks. My brain is very good at differentiating between lust and a deeper attraction, and I was definitely teetering on the borders of “deeper attraction”.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Mr. Handsome was inviting every remotely attractive girl to his desk for coffee and wafers. Random girls that worked in our bank and the bank across the street would be at his desk, and every time I would go to say hi while a girl was sitting with him, she’d give me the death stare. It was obvious that he was leading all these girls on, but thankfully, I wasn’t in too deep, so I didn’t feel too let down.

Every time he’d see me, I’d have to politely decline his coffee invitations, not just because I didn’t want to be one of “those” girls, but also because I didn’t want to build a reputation at my job of being the girl who can’t stay at her own desk because she’s too busy flirting.

Becoming a working adult means understanding that business and pleasure should never mix, even though my situation wasn’t as bad as the others I have seen. I’ve seen couples in the bank get engaged and break up and continue (sourly) working together as if they had swallowed razor blades.
But with the fact that we spend 1/3 of our day at work, 1/3 asleep, and 1/3 working out/eating/living, how else are we expected to meet people?

Would you or have you ever dated someone you work with? What was the outcome? What advice would you give to a workaholic trying to find a place in the dating scene?

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9 thoughts on “Don’t Sh*t Where You Eat

  1. Oren says:

    The only image that came to mind when I read that was my friend Shayna & how she would act whenever we used to watch horror flicks, “Don’t go in there girl!!! NO! NOOOOOOOoooooo…..”

    I’m sensing impending doom…

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  2. I dated a guy that I worked with for about a year here in Kuwait. It was fun in the beginning because we worked for a subsidiary of an Islamic organization, so it seemed more “taboo”. We used to play footsie during meetings and try to sneak touches and all that. Then, the fighting started and it became increasingly difficult not to show anger towards him in a business environment. I tried hard to keep it neutral, but people aren’t stupid. The vibes were thick. I was very happy when it finally ended – and he actually got a job at another company.

    Personally, I wouldn’t recommend sh*tting in your own back yard. Fishing off the company pier…. Etc. Our case was mild, but people can be really vindictive and you never know what the other person might do during a break-up. You don’t want to risk your reputation (because it is ALWAYS the woman’s fault…) and your job (or your security because that person knows where you are, when you come/go and where you park your car).

    Now dating CUSTOMERS is an ENTIRELY different situation….. VIP banking, perhaps? 😉

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  3. L.L says:

    I had a some sort of a thing during an internship after college with one of the guys working there. He had an amazing charisma with gorgeous eyes and smile. As soon as he saw me getting in, he volunteered (although he worked in a completely different department) to show me around and introduce me to almost everyone, helping me out to build connections and get as much as I can out of this training.
    The moment our eyes met, sparks and fireworks were just flying around. We got to know each other day by day and slowly, we started spending more and more time together; breakfast almost everyday, coffee breaks where we used to intentionally bump into each other by the coffee machine just to talk or laugh or sneakily smile and wink or do silly faces without anyone noticing, leaving chocolate boxes on my desk, chatting non stop on the internal instant messaging software so we don’t get caught using our phones a lot, lunch breaks together and he was a foodie like me so we used to go try a different place every time and being the gentleman he was, he never let me pay a dime on anything no matter what. It went on and on for a couple of months, talking, texting, calling and sometimes meeting after work. Our feelings grew a bit and some of our colleagues started noticing and indirectly throwing comments here and there till it reached a point where “when is the wedding?” was a flying joke around the floor and we used to giggle or reply back with very serious yet sarcastic comments to freak them out. Weeks after, he got a better job offer somewhere else and he started getting busier sorting everything out, barely having anytime for me. It slowly started fading till he completely vanished and no where to be found. But about 6 months after I found out accidentally that he reunited with a former girlfriend and they got married.
    Dating in the office is probably a big NO NO, I mean imagine if he did stay in that office and then got married after what happened, that would have been horrific seeing him or dealing with him while trying to make it as professionally as I can, no matter how hard it is. I don’t think it is worth jeopardizing your office image/position if you acted upon the failure of the dating/relationship whether angrily or unprofessionally.
    And even though, I didn’t actually stay in the firm after my internship, I kind of set a rule for myself not to get involved with anyone from the same work place and learned to put some boundaries to protect my career.
    P.S. Of course there are those few lucky ones where it had worked out perfectly for them and lived happily ever after.

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  4. Salem says:

    its better to have a planned friendship with colleagues of opposite sex before deciding whether to date them or not I.e you have to carefully build up a trust bond between you and them before taking the next step .

    If a bond was built then depending on your age and gender you have to ask yourself some crucial questions :

    1.why I’m planing to date in the 1st place ?! fun , romance or long term plan.

    2.Is the person I’m planing to be with is worth of me risking my social image at work which can lead to an undesirable professional consequences.

    It’s a tough subject and I totally agree with you that we spend so much time at work and there are so many interesting people that could be approached easily compared to trying hunt someone out there in public if you are a guy or filter one flirter among the dozen flirter out there if you are girl .

    Cheers

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  5. Ali says:

    Dating a coworker was something I thought of a lot since I’ve joined my new workplace and met this awesome girl who happened to be my neighbor cubicle. It was only then did I hear about the phrase “Don’t **** where you eat” from my friend, who told me to stay away from the idea.

    There were a number of factors that came to mind. First off, we see each other everyday. This would make you want to make plans with that person to see them less, as I’ve seen how I am with my coworkers. Then there’s these 2 environments and each has its own protocol, problems, styles, personalities etc. The issues start when the 2 environments visit each other, like a work problem carries on to your personal life or last night’s fight won’t let you do a task that she’s waiting on because you’re still mad.

    The next factor requires a bit of futuristic vision. Say it gets to marriage. If the marriage doesn’t go through for some reason, that’s where the real sourness comes at work .It’ll take a lot of professionalism splitting the two from each other, on both ends. Now let’s take the other outcome, say the marriage DOES go through. When issues start to arise at home (and they will), how will you two deal with it at work? This becomes increasingly hard to deal with when and if the two of you are working in the same division or on a common task.

    Lastly will be the conflict of authority. When promotion time comes and your spouse has just received a position to be YOUR supervisor, how does that set things between you? In a male-dominated society such as Kuwait, most women won’t feel that makes a big deal if their husband is also their boss at work, but what if it’s the other way around? How will the woman feel, and how will her husband feel? If she’s more strict than him at work, the aftermath will show at home.

    So the verdict is, unless you two are in like completely separate departments and don’t see each other on a daily basis, it’s best to stay away from getting emotionally involved in a coworker.

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