Survey: Many employees date the boss

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(MoneyWatch) Asking the boss out on Valentine's -- or any other -- day, is a bad idea, but lot of people do it anyway, according to a new survey on office dating.

Job-search site CareerBuilder found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. employees have dated someone they worked with. Not with much success -- only 17 percent reported dating a co-worker again. But certainly some lover connections were made, with 30 percent of those who have dated a co-worker saying they wound up marrying their cubicle mate.

Perhaps more surprisingly, nearly the same number -- 29 percent -- said they had dated someone above them in the company hierarchy, with 16 percent saying they had dated their direct supervisors. This could be why just over a third of workers reported they had to keep the relationship under wraps. Women were significantly more likely to date someone further up the organization chart -- 38 percent, compared to 21 percent for men.

Many office relationships don't start in the office. About 35 percent of those surveyed said they started dating a co-worker after running into the person outside of work, or going out for drinks or lunch. Still, just spending a lot of time together seems to spark romance: 12 percent said it was late nights at the office together that lit the flame.

If finding a mate is a major work-related goal, consider getting a job in one of the following industries, all of which are above the national average when it comes to office romance, according to CareerBuilder.

- Leisure and hospitality
- Information technology
- Financial services
- Healthcare
- Professional and business services

Six percent of workers said someone had used a work-related excuse, such as having to work too many hours, not making enough money or not liking what they did for work, to break up with them.

And if you are thinking of downsizing your relationship, now is the perfect time to do it. According to a study by H&R Block, only early January has more divorce filings than the period around Valentine's Day.

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    Constantine von Hoffman is a freelance writer and writing coach. His work has appeared in outlets such as Harvard Business Review, NPR, Sierra magazine, Brandweek, CIO, The Boston Herald,, CSO, and Boston Magazine.