February 13, 2013
Have you ever had an office romance? Was it just for fun? Did it have to do with your needs not being met at home - emotional, physical, other? Did the romance meet your expectations? Did you really believe no one knew about it? Did you or your partner get fired?
Many people I read develop romantic relationships with coworkers. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising, given the current levels of worker productivity and the pressures office workers face. Gone are the 9 to 5 days as most professionals now work 7 to 7, having lunch and dinner at the desk or in a conference room. I notice the junior staff connecting online with others but still conduct most offline social interaction with coworkers.
Most organizations frown on romantic coworker relationships of any kind. Typically nothing good comes of a broken relationship between employees, not to mention the sexual harassment liability. Questionable relationships with superiors or subordinates drive HR departments nuts. Companies can write policies all day long, forbidding all types of behavior but nothing can prevent someone from becoming smitten over the coworker in the next cube.
Then you have your tried and true philanderers. However, this group looks like it has been overhauled. This use to be middle aged men trying to rekindle there youth by capturing the admiration of some young girl who is awestruck by his corporate status and wealth. Today this group includes married women playing around with all types of men (and other women), justifying themselves by convincing others they are a neglected spouse and there husband is a workaholic.
Even more interesting is the amount of men that are seeking relationships with other male coworkers. I had someone tell me he was sick of his wife and all the women in his life and he was interested in starting a relationship with one of his male clients. Fewer and fewer people are wearing wedding rings to work and it seems the they are only married when it is a work from home day. It's getting to the point that "you cheat on your boyfriend and he gets mad and tells your wife" is commonplace.
Interesting how close coworker relationships can make you feel as if you have an office wife or husband. They know you better then your wife or husband at home. They listen and help you work through problems, they laugh at your stupid jokes and join you in making fun of other coworkers. It feels so right to have that kind of connection. I have coworkers that can finish my sentences because they know me so well, not like at home where I canÍt finish a sentence because I'm being talked 'at' not 'with'.
I guess I can see how this 'at work affair pandemic' got started. I just can't see how it helps the crumbling family structure in this country and around the world. I'm sure that given the current economic conditions and the pressure it's putting on workers, more and more romantic relationships will develop at work as people seek escapism. You never know if the next assignment, or project team you are a member of, will bring with it a romantic element.
'Carpe diem' (seize the moment) to those who have the stomach for it. The rest of us really enjoy the 'at work entertainment' and the 'eye candy'.
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