Love can be complicated. But when spring hits, the flowers start to bloom, and amour is in the air at work, there’s extra drama in the theater of love. With people logging more hours than ever at the office, workplace relationships are becoming more common. When overtime kicks in, sparks can fly between cubicles.

But when your career is at stake, how do you make sure the sparks don’t burn you?

First, don’t assume that you can keep things quiet. You may think that you’re as sneaky as can be, but people smell romance from a mile away. Your coworkers are always on the hunt for something to gossip about, and chances are that they know who you’re in love with before even you do. Do be discreet, but don’t make the mistake of trying to cover the relationship up.

Even if you’re not ready to high step it to the chapel, being in a workplace relationship may mean that it’s time for a contract. While spelling out the ins and outs of your love life to human resources may seem uncomfortable, it’s a move that could save your career. Cupid contracts make it crystal clear that a relationship is consensual, which protects both parties involved as well as the company from costly and painful sexual harassment lawsuits.

These contracts basically work like a prenuptial for office relationships, stating the ground rules and making the process clear if things should end. It’s a valuable safety net to have, especially if one of the people in the relationship is a manager.

If talk of contracts makes you squeamish, put the brakes on and consider whether an office romance is worth the work and the risk. If one of you is in management or if you work in the same department or close to one another, things could get awkward quickly. Think about how it would feel if one of you ended up leaving the company; that’s often how workplace romances gone wrong will end.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t use your work email or instant messenger accounts to get personal. Do we really need to spell out why?

Stressed Out At Work

On March 29, 2011, in Career Advice, Hot Topics, Success on the Job, Work/Life Balance, by Randstad Staffing

Feeling stressed? You’re not the only one. According to a recent study, nearly one out of three workers is experiencing extreme stress.

It’s no wonder given the current economic situation, and some of the personal experiences that some individuals  faced during the past two years. Fear about keeping a job, concern if a spouse or partner lost a job, increased costs of everything from food to gas to medical bills.

Stress is a common ailment but it can be helped. If you feel like you are experiencing the signs of anxiety, tension and pressure, consider these tips to help relieve it:

  • Treat yourself to a massage. Good for mind, body and spirit, your stress will melt away. A little pricey? No problem. Check out if there are massage therapy schools near you. Often times, students give massages at a significant discount.
  • Discover a hobby. Take your mind off things by indulging in a hobby. The distraction can help you relax and relieve tension, and give you enjoyment.
  • Indulge in a little “me time”. There’s nothing wrong with solitude, and sometimes that’s all it takes to decompress and let stress go.  Read a book, go for a walk, or take a warm bath or shower to let go of stressful feelings.

Stress can interrupt sleep, become a distraction from work, or worse, make you sick. There are a number of ways to find stress relief, and it’s important to find the one that works best for you.

Remember New Year’s, a time when everyone took a midnight moment to say that this year will be better than the last? The problem is that usually by right around now everyone has forgotten their resolutions and settled back into their normal mode.

But what if you’re really determined that 2011 isn’t going to hold the same forecast as 2010? What if you have sworn to yourself that this year is going to really be different? Really, it will be?

One good idea is to take some time out and really think about what you want and why you didn’t get it last year. Was it a fluke, an accident, a freak-of-nature exception? Or was it really part of a longstanding pattern of behavior on your part, or due to surrounding yourself with the same types of people and landing yourself in the same situations over and over again?

Before you can resolve to be different or to achieve a goal, you should pause for some earnest and honest reflection. Think about where you want to be and what you want to achieve. Is it about going back to school? Do you want a promotion? Or are you ready to finally get out of a job where no one appreciates you and find something better? Let yourself understand not just what you want, but why you want it. The why is what keeps you motivated, what reminds you of what’s real and why you’re working hard. 

When making goals that you want to keep, also think about whether you’ve already seen this same list of things you want. If it’s the same list you keep seeing year after year, ask yourself what’s holding you back. Is it a boss, a dead-end job, or is it you? Do you keep making excuses and letting yourself off the hook before you try to really obtain your dreams? Have you convinced yourself, over and over again, that you can’t cut it, that you’ll never be able to get what you really want?

Listen up: You can get what you really want. Believing that is the first step to getting it. How are other people supposed to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously? Know what you want, understand why you want it and believe that you’re worthy of getting it. That’s the way to follow through on your resolutions all the way into 2012.