The workplace is a hotbed of potential liaisons, but handling them requires skill.
From the moment you join a new firm, colleagues will be evaluating you. From day one it's good to be seen as a team player, up for any kind of social activity.
Flirting is acceptable but don't go any further in the first three months. This is your reconnaissance period.
Choosing a lover
Never consider dating your boss, or someone who reports directly to you. This rule works on both an ethical and practical level, in case the relationship doesn't work out.
Dark arts of seduction
When trying to snare an office lover, your personal hygiene should be impeccable. Women should be immaculately groomed, as if going out for an expensive dinner; men should be showered and shaved with their hair sleek and nails trimmed.
Come and get it
Turn your cubicle into a haven, stacked with gums, chocolates and other edible love tokens. The smart office lover keeps a cupboard of handy supplies, such as stamps, floppy discs, staplers and pencils as well as milk and sugar.
Acquire a reputation for being the office quartermaster. Very soon your prospective lover will come calling for more than just a Post-it note.
From the outset of a romance, it should be assumed that all emails will be read by your boss. This point is crucial, as many chastened lovers have already discovered, a single slip of the finger can send an email around the entire workforce. Emails to your lover will have to be a masterpiece of double entendres.
The dirty stop-out
You and your colleague have spent the night making passionate love and you both wake at 8.30am – to realise you're both due in the office in half-an-hour. No matter how much you do to your hair and make-up, your colleagues will almost certainly realise that you're wearing yesterday's clothes.
One alternative is to buy new clothes en route to work. Veterans call in sick for the day. But the wise lover plans ahead and has a little bag for just such emergencies.
Parting of the ways
If an office romance ends, it is important to be aloof and reserved with your ex. You should also employ a 90-day cooling off period, similar to the time you waited at the beginning of the romance.
After the 90 days are up, you can hopefully get back to having an amicable relationship. Never mention the dead romance to your colleagues.