Risser-Chai to Generation Z: "No" to Workplace Relationships

Dec 20, 2018

Makana Risser-Chai is a consultant on sexual harassment and an attorney.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The post-Millennial generation will be entering the workforce in great numbers next year and there are some lessons they could learn from older cohorts – like hooking up on the job.



Generation Z -- 61 million strong -- will be entering the workforce in large numbers next year. Millennials, like Nicole Fujiuchi (pictured with mom, Cheryl), are paying mortgages and buying condos at age 29.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

American workers spend more than half of their waking hours on the job, 5-6 days a week, about 1/3 of their lives.  That, according to the latest Time Use Survey.  So, it would seem reasonable, if not inevitable, that romantic relationships could develop at work.

“Don’t do it.  It’s just too dangerous.”



Makana Risser Chai is a consultant on sexual harassment and an attorney.  


Risser-Chai: Don't date at the workplace if you care about your job
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

“For one thing, most marriages end up in divorce so most relationships end.  And, when relationships end, it can get ugly.  So, the question you have to ask yourself is, ‘What’s more important.  Your relationship or your job?’”  


Sixty-one million post-millennial or Generation Z men and women, born between 1995 and 2010, will start entering the workforce next year.  They make up 25 percent of the total population…


“Between peers, you get one free request for a date.  So, if you become friends with someone at work and you still want to date ‘em, you can say, ‘Would you like to go out sometime?’  If they say, ‘Yes,’ great.  If they say ‘No.’ That’s it. You got your one free request.”


Risser-Chai says some companies have anti-fraternization policies and others don’t.  But, she says, if you’d like to someday become a manager or leader, steer clear of workplace hook ups.


“I know a guy who had a relationship with a woman and then they broke up which was bad enough.  But, he found out that his bosses did not approve of it and he ended up having to leave his job because they told him he wasn’t gonna get a promotion because he wasn’t leadership material because he had had this relationship.”


But research indicates that finding a mate outside of work is difficult. More than half of the single adults surveyed had negative views of online dating services and less than one-third developed relationships in public places and bars.


“If you become friends with co-workers they can introduce you to their friends who work elsewhere and you can meet people that way.  So, if we look at it more as not looking at the workplace as a dating pool but as a friends pool that’s a way to create a win-win situation.”


By 2020, according to the Labor Department, Generation Z will make up 20 percent of the working population, millennials 50 percent, and baby boomers, who are turning 65 years of age at a rate of 10-thousand each day, will slowly diminish.  But, Risser-Chai says, there’s a universal guideline for workers that crosses generations, gender, occupations and companies, large and small.


“The safest sex is no sex at all, at work.”


For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.