You've been working closely together all year. You definitely fancy each other. It could even be LOVE. And it's the office Christmas party tonight... As you quell the butterflies in your tummy and apply your lippy, contemplate the following ten points before you get hammered and get off with your boss...
1. According to Professor Gary N. Powell, author of Gender and Diversity in the Workplace, hierarchical romances in which one participant directly reports to the other, and romances in which one participant swaps sexual favours in exchange for career advancement, are the two most damaging types of relationship for group morale and organizational effectiveness.
2. Try to be objective. Is it your boss that you want, or the associated power trip? A relationship with someone in management can be a massive the ego boost, not to mention the chance to max out the company credit card after 'working late' on that all important presentation, but peel away the perks and what exactly are you left with?
3. Still love is it? Think of the number of people that you have dated in your life versus the number of people that you have settled down with. The odds that it is the real thing this time are not good are they?
4. "But", you protest, "we've got so much in common". You do. You really do. Your job, your tea break, your colleagues, and the fact that you both work fourteen hours a day.
5. Which means that neither of you have the opportunity to instigate, or sustain a relationship with someone outside office hours. No wonder so many companies have relaxed their policies on office romance.
6. Check your handbook, but most companies now recognise that four out of every 10 people meet their spouse at the office. However if one or other of you is married, expect universal disapproval, a transfer, or possibly, your P45.
7. Don't publicise your relationship. Jealous co-workers will be quick to find evidence of favouritism and preferential treatment.
8. Avoid using company email accounts to communicate with each other. Instead, set up a separate Yahoo or Hotmail email address.
9. If the relationship breaks down, as it probably will, don't expect any peer support. It is human nature to remain loyal to the person that pays your salary.
10. There is a chance of a happy ending. In a 2006 poll of 5,000 women by Top Sante magazine, 28% of women admitted to having had sex with a senior colleague and 12% were subsequently promoted. In a surprising fairytale twist, 11% of them went on to marry their boss! Happy Christmas.