Interested in the hottie in the next cube? Check out our Survival Guide before you make a move.

CARLSBAD, CA (February 12, 2010) Spend all day, every day with the same group of people, confined in the same office, and it’s hard not to consider your co-workers as potential dates, reports CareerCast.com, a national job-search portal.

“When you date a co-worker, you have a partner who completely understands your professional life,” says Tony Lee, publisher, CareerCast.com. “However, if it doesn’t work out, it can be damaging to your career.”

Office romances can start in any number of ways – at a company party, when a group of colleagues meet for happy hour, or even when team members travel together. So if you decide that you just can’t resist the office hottie, start by investigating your company’s policies on workplace romance. Some employers prohibit office dating, which means you may be forced to change responsibilities or departments or, even worse, get fired. And even if dating is allowed, office romance can lead to water cooler gossip, complaints of favoritism, low morale, damaged peer relationships and claims of sexual harassment after a break-up.

Regardless of how important your office romance may feel succeeding in your career should still come first. The best way to survive an office romance with your career and your reputation intact is to keep quiet, keep smiling and make sure that if it ends, it ends peacefully.

CareerCast.com offers these survival tips:
    •    Investigate your company’s policies on workplace romance before you date colleagues
    •    Don’t display your affection publicly in the workplace
    •    Keep your IMs and emails clean
    •    Try to avoid romantic relationships with a peer, boss or supplier, but if you do, make sure you’re both discreet
    •    Be aware of the potential pitfalls of office romance, especially sexual harassment claims
    •    Understand the potential for retaliation if the relationship ends
    •    If it ends, make amends and be considerate – you never know when you might meet each other again professionally
To view workplace romance from the perspective of a 20-something, check out our column “Secrets Are No Fun…Unless You’re Part of One: The Office Hook Up” on CareerCast.com.

About CareerCast.com

CareerCast.com, created by Adicio, is a job search portal that offers extensive local, niche and national job listings from across North America, job-hunting, career-management and HR-focused editorial content, videos and blogs, and provides recruiters with the ability to post jobs directly to more than 800 niche career sites. CareerCast.com also compiles the Jobs Rated Report (www.jobsrated.com), where 200 jobs across North America are ranked based on detailed analysis of specific careers factors.