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Entrepreneurs, including highly successful ones, fall in love just like most people. But many risk everything — including access to their business, their business resources, and their personal finances — by blindly and prematurely trusting the people they become emotionally or sexually involved with.
In other words, poor relationship choices could tank your business.
The Pitfalls of Dating Coworkers
- Relationships can become sexual harassment suits when they end poorly
- Conflicts of interest and compromised judgment could negatively impact business performance
- Illicit affairs could put a business and other assets at risk in a divorce action
- Embezzlement and misuse of company resources
- Identity theft and fraud
- Financial manipulation and infidelity
- Criminal behavior including larceny, extortion, insurance fraud, and murder
Here’s the scariest part: Most of these transgressions will go unreported. Why? The victims are too embarrassed to admit that they were taken advantage of. They blame themselves for being foolish and gullible. They’d rather take their losses and forget the whole thing, than diminish their images and reputations as smart business people.
Partners and employees who know the true story may keep it to themselves, for fear of violating the privacy of their colleagues. They fear retaliation from one or more of those involved in the relationship.
What Do When Dating Someone at Work
The bottom line? As small business owners achieve greater levels of success, status and wealth, they must never forget the first rule of healthy relationships: Protect yourself at all times. Withhold access to your body, money, home, and heart until you have done your due diligence and are clear about who a person is, not just what they are (i.e., gorgeous, sexy, seemingly crazy about you).
Falling “in love” or otherwise feeling an intense attraction to a person is not the same as knowing that person. Too many careers, businesses, fortunes and even lives are lost because people forget that relationship decisions (especially sex, co-habitation, procreation, and marriage) have financial and legal implications as well as emotional ones — until it’s too late and the damage is done.
Alfred A. Edmond Jr. is senior VP/executive editor-at-large for Black Enterprise. He is also co-creator, with his wife and business partner Zara Green, of Grown Zone Relationship Education (GrownZone.com), a company devoted to helping high-potential/high-achieving professionals and entrepreneurs avoid and/or recover from costly choices in their personal relationships. Edmond’s latest E-book, Buy Love, Get Trouble. Sell Love, Get Screwed: How Your Choices In Pursuit of Sex, Love and Relationships Impact Your Business, Career and Financial Success, is available as a free download at GrownZone.com/BuyLoveGetTrouble.