View Full Version : Meeting people at work


EuropeanADHD
02-19-17, 05:03 PM
I have a doubt. I'm not sure it's related to ADD, but then, I find social conventions tricky, which probably does have to do with my ADD, so maybe you can throw me some light on that... Or just share your feelings.

I'm in my thirties and have been single for a few years. I've tried online dating and other methods but meeting a suitable partner has been difficult, especially given how much I work and travel.

However, since I work as a business consultant I meet plenty of people at work, which sometimes includes meeting interesting men. Let me explain my job a bit:

- My job is normally to spend 4-5 days a week in the client's company, solving their problems. I work a few months with the same client, then move to the next one.

- When in the client's office I interact with their employees a lot, although for everyone involved it's clear that I'm an outsider, external consultant.

- At client's site I'm normally with a few colleagues from my own company, but we don't work together all the time, have different responsibilities.

- When at clients' sites, I also interact a lot with other contractors, i.e. I cooperate with employees of other companies, which like mine are selling services to the client.

I'm asking myself whom in this constellation I can consider to be a possible date and who is definitely to steer away from. Whether flirting and going out with the client's employee would be totally out of place? Or an employee of another external contractor?

It's important to note that there are no formal restrictions concerning that in my work contract.

dvdnvwls
02-19-17, 05:17 PM
One of the main things to consider:

If a personal relationship has a chance of affecting the way you work for that person's company, or of affecting your relationships with all the other people you're working with, then the personal relationship stops being a good idea.

It's necessary to look at all this from the point of view of the people who aren't involved in the personal relationship. Their observations are the ones that matter, even though they don't understand the personal aspects.

EuropeanADHD
02-19-17, 05:24 PM
One of the main things to consider:

If a personal relationship has a chance of affecting the way you work for that person's company, or of affecting your relationships with all the other people you're working with, then the personal relationship stops being a good idea.


That's a good point.

However, it's difficult to conclude whether a personal relationship in this context can influence the way they (me) work or not.

Speaking generally, no, it can't have an impact on the decisions I take as a consultant. I'm not responsible for firing people or promotions or similar. In this sense there's absolutely no conflict of interests.

When we analyse all possible consequences, however, then yes, of course my or their behavior can be impacted. The quality of the cooperation with them might be impacted for example.

Postulate
02-19-17, 05:46 PM
I had very poor results with dating women from my jobs, most are time wasters. They like playing games, they approach you, acting like they're interested, only to give you a chill when you respond to their interest with further interest of your own. So they like to play the hot and chill approach very much, that never leads anywhere. Why they do it? I have no idea...to kill time? To uplift their self-esteem and prove to themselves that they can still seduce a man? Because they have nothing better to do with their life then to upset men? For gossip material? Or perhaps it is me being over-susceptible. I don't know, it's my experience. I don't understand how a woman can be all over you, trying to seduce you, while in fact the doesn't give a rat about you. Perhaps someone can explain this.

However, the workplace is in theory an excellent ground for meeting women. If you meet the right one of course so be aware of time wasters. That is because by working together you get to explore many facades of your personality and I guess it facilitates a lot the onset of a relationship. Be very careful though, make sure you know who you're talking to and keep in mind that no matter how good the rapport is, it's going to be a complete failure 4 times out of 5.

dvdnvwls
02-19-17, 05:51 PM
EuropeanADHD: You're right.

Keep in mind though, that the appearance of the situation can be just as important as the facts. If people are whispering and starting rumours, it's never good for business.

20thcenturyfox
02-19-17, 10:20 PM
...I'm in my thirties and have been single for a few years. I've tried online dating and other methods but meeting a suitable partner has been difficult, especially given how much I work and travel.

However, since I work as a business consultant I meet plenty of people at work, which sometimes includes meeting interesting men. Let me explain my job a bit:

- My job is normally to spend 4-5 days a week in the client's company, solving their problems. I work a few months with the same client, then move to the next one.

- When in the client's office I interact with their employees a lot, although for everyone involved it's clear that I'm an outsider, external consultant.

- At client's site I'm normally with a few colleagues from my own company, but we don't work together all the time, have different responsibilities.

- When at clients' sites, I also interact a lot with other contractors, i.e. I cooperate with employees of other companies, which like mine are selling services to the client.

I'm asking myself whom in this constellation I can consider to be a possible date and who is definitely to steer away from. Whether flirting and going out with the client's employee would be totally out of place? Or an employee of another external contractor?

It's important to note that there are no formal restrictions concerning that in my work contract.

I realize this is your life, but it almost sounds like an exam question in an MBA program! As a retired business owner may I add to what dvd has already said?

Taking the last point first, let's start with the black-letter rules governing--not just yourself--but also the employees of all these client and contractor companies. I don't know what the practice has been historically in conservative European workplaces, but in North America many larger companies have had formal rules against various sorts of workplace relationships for a long time, ranging from "none, ever" to "not in the same department," "not in a reporting relationship" (boss-subordinate), etc. And definitely, for obvious reasons, there could be employer rules against dating contractors (especially if not disclosed to one's employer). So one question would be whether any of these other employers has such rules affecting any of the people you might want to socialize with. Would you be putting any of these people in jeopardy?

The next question to consider more closely is potential conflicts of interest. I have noticed business people in North America have wildly differing ideas of what actually constitutes a conflict of interest, as well as what must be done to avoid one. Unless you are sure the term has a well-understood meaning--which is the same regardless of whether you are one of the "related parties" or one of their superiors, or just a gossipy onlooker--it might be safest to consider how it would be perceived and talked about by small-minded onlookers, some of whom may think just about any dating relationship in the workplace is, ipso facto, a conflict of interest.

More substantively, it might be true, as you say, that there is no possibility your "decisions" as a contractor would (or could?) be influenced by a personal relationship, but would the same necessarily be true for your friend, who might also be making decisions or recommendations about contractors, budgets, contracts, etc, which must be free of outside influence? And again, would higher-ups in both organizations feel the same confidence that there is no risk of divided loyalties, disclosure of competitive information, etc?

Beyond conflicts of interest, which are ultimately about money and corporate loyalty, there is also the question of what makes the people you work for and around comfortable or uncomfortable. People in the early stages of a romantic relationship are often oblivious to how intrusive and unwelcome their behaviour can be to the people around them. It is not uncommon for this to spell trouble on the job for one or both of the lovebirds. Finally, what is even more common is for on-the-job relationships to end more or less messily for one or both parties, and this likelihood is probably the biggest reason why managers tend to hate intra-office dating: from their point of view, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

OK, so I'm an old corporate warhorse, quite possibly hopelessly out of date. Then again, perhaps not unlike some of the executives and investors in some of the companies you work with.

So now, whom, in this exceedingly complex constellation you have for a workplace, do I think you can you consider dating?

1. No one in your own company, whether they travel around with you or not, for as long as you work there. (...Unless a) you already know of other higher level couples within the company, and b) you have reason to think your new relationship will also be accepted, and c) you have other employment options!)

2. No one inside any client company until the end of your (and your employer's) last assignment there, when they can be considered a "former client," hopefully also a satisfied client who continues to be satisfied.

3. Employees of other contractors seems (on the surface) much more innocuous. Just think carefully who are the main decisionmakers in setting up these contracts, and whether a personal relationship might make anyone important uncomfortable.

Finally, keep in mind that any workplace relationship has the disadvantage of having to grow and deepen with a lot of potentially important people watching. It puts a lot of your eggs in the same basket, so to speak. For many people this is not an optimal situation for getting to know someone and enduring the ups and downs common in many new relationships. Just sayin'

(OTOH, I should add I met my late husband of 32 years on the job in circumstances that were not at all ideal. Luckily for us both, he changed jobs within months of becoming interested, or I don't know how we could have got to know each other better without creating a lot of unhappy complications!)

EuropeanADHD
02-20-17, 02:18 AM
So now, whom, in this exceedingly complex constellation you have for a workplace, do I think you can you consider dating?

1. No one in your own company, whether they travel around with you or not, for as long as you work there. (...Unless a) you already know of other higher level couples within the company, and b) you have reason to think your new relationship will also be accepted, and c) you have other employment options!)

2. No one inside any client company until the end of your (and your employer's) last assignment there, when they can be considered a "former client," hopefully also a satisfied client who continues to be satisfied.

3. Employees of other contractors seems (on the surface) much more innocuous. Just think carefully who are the main decisionmakers in setting up these contracts, and whether a personal relationship might make anyone important uncomfortable.

Finally, keep in mind that any workplace relationship has the disadvantage of having to grow and deepen with a lot of potentially important people watching. It puts a lot of your eggs in the same basket, so to speak. For many people this is not an optimal situation for getting to know someone and enduring the ups and downs common in many new relationships. Just sayin'

(OTOH, I should add I met my late husband of 32 years on the job in circumstances that were not at all ideal. Luckily for us both, he changed jobs within months of becoming interested, or I don't know how we could have got to know each other better without creating a lot of unhappy complications!)

Let me comment your points:

1. I don't think dating somebody at my company would be problematic unless he's my boss. The thing is, we travel so much that we hardly ever meet in person in the office anyway. So the probability someone would learn about us dating or this would influence our behavior is very low in the first place... But for the same reason, meeting someone from my own company is not very likely.

2. I never know whether the assignment with the client is my last one. Assignments frequently get extended and you sometimes stay with client for several assignments.

Add to that the fact that I normally work for assignments abroad, travelling 1000+ km to them. So it's unlikely to get that first coffee together only after I'm done with my assignment.

sarahsweets
02-20-17, 05:32 AM
So I understand...
You co workers that you work with are all from the same company right? And they wouldnt have any issue or knowledge of a relationship if you had one? If you dated someone you are contracted to work with, you wouldnt have to answer to anyone from their office and there would be no conflict with your official employer if you did date someone you were contracted out for?

EuropeanADHD
02-22-17, 05:08 PM
So I understand...
You co workers that you work with are all from the same company right? And they wouldnt have any issue or knowledge of a relationship if you had one? If you dated someone you are contracted to work with, you wouldnt have to answer to anyone from their office and there would be no conflict with your official employer if you did date someone you were contracted out for?

I don't know. It's not prohibited in my work contract but I can't assess how this would be viewed.

I know there are romances between colleagues in my office and they don't shock anybody. Honestly, nobody cares - there are some rumours sometimes, but people from my company travel so much that they forget such things very quickly.

Not sure about the client/ contractor thing though. I mean, it obviously wouldn't be ok if I went out with the CEO from the client's company. But a lower-level employee? No idea.

The culture probably also plays a role, which makes this even more tricky. I'm currently on a project in a country that is quite famous for its cultural liberalism for example. The relations between contractors and clients are super relaxed too, with people joking all the time, even complementing each other and flirting. Not sure whether this would mean it's acceptable to date someone on the client's side though.

Pilgrim
02-22-17, 08:11 PM
As long as work doesn't get in the way. I try not let opportunities go by. I look at the energy between people. I also look for some marker that they are keen. Specially at work.