10 Tips for Surviving an Office Romance Breakup

Has your office romance gone sour? Here's how to survive the breakup and keep your focus on work.

Breakups are hard. They’re even harder when the person you broke up with works with you. Now, you have to adjust to working with someone to whom you used to be very close. Unfortunately, your days will be filled with awkward encounters and whispers around the water cooler. Your once blissful union used to give you goosebumps, but now whenever you think about going to work you’re just filled with dread. You’re no longer bouncing out of bed in the morning, filled with excitement about seeing your significant other at work. Instead, all you want to do is hide.

If you’ve been romantically involved with a co-worker, you’ve got a lot of company. Roughly 50% of U.S. workers admitted to engaging in an office romance, according to a Vault.com survey. The survey results found that 22% of men and 15% of women have had a random office hookup, while less than 10% of either gender met their spouse at work. Furthermore, 71% of men said they would have another office affair, while 43% of women said they wouldn’t do it again.

Are you nursing a broken heart after dating a co-worker? Here are 10 tips for surviving an office romance breakup.

1. Focus On Your Work

You might be distracted for a while, but you’ll need to pull yourself together and focus on doing your job. You’re probably hurting right now, but you also have a responsibility to do the job your employer is paying you to do. Getting fired after a breakup would complicate your life even more, so do your best to make work a priority. If you find your mind wandering, take a quick break, get some coffee or tea, and then get back to work.

2. Don’t Try to Get Revenge

Your heart was broken into a million pieces, so your first thought might be about getting revenge. Work is not the place to do that. Take a deep breath, and push away those thoughts of emailing pictures of your ex in a compromising position. The “send all” feature in your email account is not your friend right now. Rhonda Milrad, founder and chief relationship adviser at Relationup, told The Cheat Sheet getting revenge is not worth putting your career at risk.

“You may want your ex to fail and be humiliated, but don’t let your hurt get the best of you and lead to unprofessional conduct. Even if your behavior isn’t caught, your ex might suspect you, which means you just might have opened the door to a war,” Milrad said.

3. Minimize Contact

You might not be able to avoid seeing each other at the office, but there are some steps you can take to minimize contact. If it would be too distressing to see your ex right now, you can change the time you usually go to lunch if you know you’ll have an awkward run-in.

Therapist Toni Coleman told The Cheat Sheet it also might be a good idea to decline group work outings until your heart has mended.

“Avoid group lunches and happy hours if the other person will be there. When possible, consider changing a joint office setup or routines that used to allow for more interaction. Keep all face time to a minimum,” Coleman said.

4. Keep Conversations About Work

When you run into your ex at work, don’t start talking about the breakup. Your conversation will either end in crying or arguing. Avoid the embarrassment by keeping conversations short and focused on work. If your ex starts to talk about the relationship, say you would rather not discuss it.

5. Don’t Get Into Details With Co-Workers

If co-workers ask you about the breakup — and they will — be prepared with a polite, yet succinct response. Don’t give too much detail about what led to the breakup, and don’t complain about your ex’s annoying habits. Keep details to yourself, so you can avoid further heartache down the road. The gossip about your breakup won’t die until you stop feeding the rumor mill.

Dating expert Yue Xu, co-host of the Date/able podcast, told The Cheat Sheet employees also should remember whatever they say will get around the office. Nothing is ever a secret at work. “Don’t talk about your relationship with your co-workers. It’s unprofessional and frankly none of their business. And as you know, work places are gossipy. Just know that whatever you say will eventually travel back to your ex,” Xu said.

6. Don’t Use the Breakup as an Excuse for Poor Work

If you missed a deadline because you were up all night crying about your ex, don’t tell your boss you can’t work because you’re getting over a breakup. That isn’t an excuse you should be offering your supervisor. If you can’t get control over your personal life and choose to bring your issues into the office, your boss might begin to wonder why he or she hired you. Get it together.

7. Keep Your Boss Out of Your Personal Life

Don’t use your boss as a sounding board. You’re there to work, not to get a free counseling session. If your boss asks how you’re doing, don’t go on and on about how horrible your life is right now because of the breakup. Just say you’re fine, and move on. The office is not the place for you to air out your personal problems. Instead, have lunch with a close friend.

8. Stay Professional

Your emotions are running high right now, but that’s no excuse for unprofessional behavior. Continue to get to work on time, submit quality work, and don’t engage in unsavory conversations. You have a career to nurture, so don’t let one tiny bump in the road distract you from your goals.

9. Consider a Transfer

If things are very uncomfortable, consider requesting a department transfer. This way, you won’t have to work closely with your ex. It will be hard to focus on your assignments if you’re often required to collaborate with your former flame on work projects. Ask your manager or human resources whether this is an option.

“The saying, ‘Out of sight, out of mind,’ has some truth to it,” said Jennifer Seiter, co-owner and general manager of Ex Boyfriend Recovery. “It takes a lot of time and distance to completely get over someone. Co-workers pose another issue because they will ask you what happened, and if you’re repeating the entire story of the breakup over and over, it’s only going to make you relive the negative emotions.”

10. Consider Quitting

If your office breakup is becoming so distracting that your job performance is starting to suffer, you might want to think about breaking up with your job, too. This will likely be a tough decision, especially if you love your job. But if you can’t focus on your work, you’ll have to make other arrangements.

[Editor’s note: Breakups can be very emotional and it’s easy to lose your focus not just on your work, but your finances as well. While you’re on the mend, make sure you continue to pay bills on time, don’t go overboard with retail therapy trying to make yourself feel better, and continue to keep track of your credit scores so you can see how your spending is affecting your credit. You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.]

This article originally appeared on The Cheat Sheet.

Image: BraunS

The post 10 Tips for Surviving an Office Romance Breakup appeared first on Credit.com.

The One Skill You Need to Master to Get Ahead At Work


It’s time to stop the witch hunt against small talk. Many people believe the chitchat around the water cooler is pointless babble, but in fact it can be vital to achieving your career goals. Research is showing that the first impressions you make in a job interview — often with those exchanges about the weather or the office space — can be extremely important for the interview’s success.

You might not think it’s that important to be able to talk to a co-worker or potential client about their hobbies, sports interests or how they got to where they are in their career. And while the topics themselves might not be earth-shattering, the conversation itself is incredibly important, many career experts say.

“The communication of ideas or information is secondary, almost incidental; the speech is mainly meant to serve the purpose of social bonding,” David Roberts, Vox columnist and self-proclaimed failure at small talk, wrote in July.

In a nutshell, the reason so many people likely claim that they don’t like small talk is because they believe they’re not good at it. I shy away from small talk at all costs. I’d much rather be in a coffee shop having an in-depth conversation with one good friend than face a conference room of professionals for “networking.” Blech. However, think about how those close relationships you have with confidants and colleagues formed in the first place. In all likelihood, it was with a conversation about the weather. Or your mutual love for sweet potato tots at the bar, or your undying devotion for the Chicago Cubs (and will they actually have a shot at the pennant this year?)

The truth is, almost every good relationship you have formed in the nascent stage of small talk. And if you want to succeed in your job, you’re most likely going to need to rely on it for years to come. Still think it’s the worst thing since spam emails? Here are a few ideas that might change your perspective, and may even make you a small talk master in no time.

1. Think of Small Talk as a Skill

Chances are, you’ve trained for several years to be good at your job. And if you’re hoping to advance, you’re still looking for ways to improve your skill set. It’s becoming more apparent that employers value soft skills almost as much — if not more — than your ability to make a spreadsheet or close a sale. Guess what? Small talk is a soft skill — which means it is possible to make it less cringe-worthy than when you aren’t prepared and your mind is racing with thoughts of, “What do I say? How do I connect with this person? Where’s the nearest exit?”

The reality is, people like to work with others they already have something in common with. The easiest way to find common ground with potential clients or colleagues is through small talk.

“Small talk is the appetizer for any relationship,” Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, told Fast Company. “A good networker is looking to foster relationships and build a community never knowing how that contact can help now or in the future.”

2. Start Simple

Like most skills, you start with the basics. On his blog, personal finance adviser Ramit Sethi gives some incredibly easy ways to begin, including, “Hi. How is your morning going?” and “Hi. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Ramit.” He also suggests noticing how easy and ordinary the openings are.

“The truth is, we’re not searching for magic words. We’re simply looking for a way to connect and build rapport,” he wrote.

By now you probably realize that small talk is the social currency of success at work. But that doesn’t mean you should put a ton of pressure on yourself — or those conversations — in order to see results. In fact, having lowered expectations about those types of conversations will make you more relaxed. As a result, you’re more likely to be enjoyable to be around. Ironically, those lowered expectations might in turn lead to a better conversation.

“If you come to cocktail hour hoping for nothing more than a good restaurant or book recommendation, you can relax and enjoy yourself, and be pleasantly surprised by anything else that happens,” according to a Fast Company article.

3. Practice in Low-Stress Situations

Confidence is key in many work situations, and pulling off engaging small talk is no different. This might be the downfall of introverts like myself: I don’t believe people would want to talk to me in the first place, let alone discuss anything I might ask. However, it’s time to move past that line of thought. “The hardest part isn’t having something to say. It’s having the confidence to actually do it,” Sethi advised.

To build that confidence, Sethi suggests practicing your small talk skills in low-key environments, such as with your coffee barista or the clerk at the grocery store. Ask a light question or two (like about their job role, their preferred drink order, etc.) and make sure you’re listening to their responses. Ask follow-up questions while they ring up your order. Violà! You’ve succeeded at small talk.

If you’re going into a networking event or other situation where small talk is guaranteed, Fine suggests practicing your answer to “How are you?” with interesting anecdotes or at least something more engaging than, “Fine, how are you?”

4. Have a Purpose

When you are ready to give successful small talk a try, go into it with a general purpose — or at least a positive outlook, Forbes contributor Christina Park suggests. “Thoughts tend to be self-fulfilling. If you approach small talk with the belief that it will be dull and pointless, it probably will,” she wrote. Focus on the benefits, and have a few general questions in mind.

Introverts are classically known to avoid and/or hate small talk like the plague. But those same people are often fantastic listeners, and also tend to be curious. Use those traits to your advantage, Park writes, by listening carefully to someone’s answers and following up with thoughtful questions. If you’re genuinely curious about something, this will be much easier. The added benefit of asking those extra questions is that the spotlight will stay on the other person, but you’ll also give the impression that you genuinely care about what they have to say. Going forward, this will only help to improve a potential working relationship — whether it’s a co-worker, boss or client.

In addition, think of topics you’re already comfortable with and know something about, Sue Thompson, a personality and business etiquette training expert, suggests.

“Use a three-month rule: Start with topics on which you can generate conversation having to do with something you’ve done in the past three months or are planning to do in the next three months,” Thompson told CNN. You’ll be comfortable talking about a hobby or upcoming project, which will naturally draw others into the conversation.

Of course, it’s difficult to imagine these small talk conversations when you’re not standing in a room full of people you don’t know, or you’re not walking past the break room for lunch. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you practice ahead of time, and have a few questions in your pocket.

After a while, starting a conversation from thin air won’t feel like such a chore — and you won’t need canned questions to help you out. At that point, you’ll know you’re mastering the skill on your own.

[Editor’s Note: It’s important to remember that some employers look at a version of your credit report as part of the application process. Because of this, it might be a good idea for you to see where your credit currently stands so you’re prepared to talk about it if it comes up. You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and see a free snapshot of your credit report, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.]

This article originally appeared on The Cheat Sheet.

Image: XiXinXing

The post The One Skill You Need to Master to Get Ahead At Work appeared first on Credit.com.