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I've been a freelance software/web developer since graduating from college. That's a job you do at home, and it has its good and bad sides. One of the bad sides is that the only creature with which you can flirt is your pet (if you have one) and any girls who might be "online" at the time. (Hey, you in the back - stop making sick comments about flirting with pets - it was an attempt at being wry!)

Having a "real job" (one among people) has its downsides (many) and upsides. One of the upsides is that you get to meet cool people, some of whom are attractive gals in their early twenties.

Unfortunately, it's been my belief that it's unprofessional to "hit on" anyone whom you meet while in the employ of someone else. There are lots of arguments: it's "good customer service" or "it's fun, and that's good" or "it boosts morale" or who knows. But color me old-school - it just doesn't seem professional. No, I'm not talking about a fellow co-worker, but some person who you happen to meet while "at work."

Does anyone have any thoughts?

10 Responses to ""

  1. I've been doing the freelance thing for a while as well - and my major problem with it is that not only don't you meet or interact with any girls, but you rarely interact with anyone period. I'm thinking I'd like to work somewhere outside the home where I at least have some more human interaction.

    Girls would be icing on the cake. But I agree with you that it can be unprofessional - if anything its something you do with the coworker away from the workplace.

  2. Think about this:

    You hit on a girl and she takes offense. How's that going to go over with your boss?

    It's bad enough risking a move on someone you work with, but a customer? Out of the question. Unless of course, she hits on you. In that case, blowback is still possible if things end poorly, but at least she initiated the process.

  3. The "hitting on" was very casual (call it flirting if "hitting on" seems too tacky, forceful, or cheesy), and it was reciprocated. Still, it raised the question in my mind.

  4. I'm employed by a company in Vancouver but I telecommute from Florida, so I never get to see my co-workers.

    The last time I worked at a local company, I was still more or less in the closet. I got really annoyed with someone I shared an office with who hit on girls constantly and didn't talk about anything else. I did all I could to fake interest.

  5. Erik, do you mean that it was done to you, or by you?

  6. During a business transactions where you are working specifically with that customer, I would go with Erik because it's unprofessional. However, if you were to run into that person again- and neither of you were in uniform, so to speak-- and in a different setting, I would say it's okay at that point. There's no point in flirting while working because it means you're not concentrating on your job and if the object of your flirtations objects, you'll only look like horny jackass.

  7. Hey, I met my wife at work. We both work freelance and were working on a project together. Initially we didn't get along (she actually tried to get me fired!).

    After a few months we slowly became friendly. On my last day we went out on our first date (after work, so technically we were no longer co-workers). Over the next month we finally figured out we liked each other.

    When the project picked back up a few months later we hid the fact we were dating from most people. However, we did tell the boss. Most people who did find out thought is was a Sam & Diane-thing ("Cheers"). It wasn't...

    we married about two years later...

  8. Don't stick your pen in company ink.

    Very simple and it's kept me out of a lot of trouble. 🙂

  9. Aaron - amend that to "unless you're going to leave soon anyway, so even if bad things do happen, you're not going to be there." I had a "thing" with a girl (lady) where I worked once and while it wasn't a relationship as much as just getting jiggy with it and nothing more, the fact that we worked in diff departments, in different parts of the building, and that I left not long after to join a startup, it all ended up well.

    Still, I had good luck with that one and not as good luck with others. Best to stay safe.... however, if going out to coffee isn't going to kill anyone. As long as you don't do anything that is offensive.... and hey, if it does turn into something that is real, well, you'll have started off slow and easy because of the fact you both work for the same company.

  10. Man, you think you've got it bad? Here was my most complicated situation:

    When I was a student, I worked for the campus organization that supported dorm student's internet connections. So my "customers" were my peers, which was pretty much awful. As soon as I'd helped some girl with her internet in her room, I automatically knew her phone number and address and email address and pretty much anything else -- but all through work. So, since I was concerned about maintaining our organization's professional image, I was paranoid about this exact subject, to the point of complete inaction with respect to *any* girl living in the dorms.

    Everything these days seems simple by comparison.