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Will Office Love Dent Your Career?

Working in banking takes up a lot of time – so it’s no wonder the workplace is often where many meet their partners. Banks like UBS and Credit Suisse have laid down rules. offers some tips.

Conducting a relationship can be one of the biggest challenges, even under the best of conditions. Getting involved romantically with a colleague increases the likelihood of  headaches further. Close working ties with working colleagues can lead to additional conflict potential. Just how precarious the relationship between work and life can be is illustrated by the example of disgraced former Raiffeisen Bank headPierin Vincenz and his wife,Nadja Cerregato, as reported.

This might not have happened at all companies. Depending on the country and industry strict rules prevail, usually making a relationship with a superior impossible. To better navigate this minefield, has addressed the four key questions relating to this issue.

1. Transparency or Discretion?

Even if you want to, don't yell it from the rooftops: a certain level of discretion is advisable for romantic tie-ups. Should things go wrong, would you want the whole office to know about it? Depending on how closely one works together, revealing a relationship can have a long-term impact on one’s job.

Swiss companies aren't quite as severe as some of their U.S. peers, where relationships between colleagues may be completely taboo – if two co-workers fall in love with each other, one of them has to resign. Employers in Switzerland adopt a more pragmatic approach to avoid a conflicts of interest.

At Credit Suisse and UBS employees have to inform their superior about such romantic relationships. The bosses must then decide, together with human resources, whether there could be conflict potential. If so, one of the pair may get transferred to another department.

Therefore, it's advisable to be reasonably sure about wanting to stay more than just colleagues before going public with an intra-office relationship. To risk the loss of a hard-earned position for a short-lived affair isn’t worth it.

2. What if it's Your Boss?

A prickly scenario develops when the boss and an underling fall in love – the possible outcome is well illustrated by the Vincenz-Cerregato case. The revelation, at least at Swiss banks, must be made to the superior of the highest ranking of the pair.

Choosing the right time to reveal a romantic liaison is even more critical in this scenario. Getting involved with the boss will almost certainly lead to a reassignment. If one confesses too early, and the relationship breaks up, one of the parties could be stuck in another, worse job. Waiting too long, however, runs the risk of raising the impression of favoritism.

3. Any Advantages?

Especially in the financial sector, work forms an important part of life. The more common interests, the smaller the risk of getting stuck in an awkward silence, even on the 100th date. Working together also offers advantages to people with a good work-life-balance. Organizing part-time work can be easier when both partners are dealing with the same boss.

4. How High-Risk?

As the saying goes, one should never put all one’s eggs in one basket. If the entire family income is dependent on the same bank, then the next financial crisis could spell the danger of a total loss of family income.

Not only the job can have an impact on a relationship, there are also risks in the other direction. If there’s a spat at home, it is not easily forgotten when one partner walks around in a bad mood.

And if it comes to a separation, then the common workplace becomes intolerable for some. Still, whoever got transferred within the bank because they fell in love with the boss may end up being in luck: There is enough space between Uetlihof and Paradeplatz to keep out of each other’s way.


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