Hooking up with someone you work with is statistically as likely as having a nose through your boyfriend’s unattended phone. It’s just too tempting once in a while and in my experience ends just as badly. I mean any guy who doesn’t have some dirt on his phone is either a dullard or really good at deleting and same goes for office romances. Work can very often be dull, even the best jobs, but a workplace fling often results in someone being deleted. Not quite a matching metaphor but you get my point.
Some people do of course find true love in the workplace or can draw the line at a flirtatious email or two that brighten up a long day. Lunchtime shenanigans over a white wine in the Horse and Hound don’t help the accuracy of an afternoon spreadsheet but do get you to Friday with a little spring in your step. When you’re stuck with the same people day in day out we can’t help but form some fondness for them; our colleagues, even if we would find them repugnant in any other circumstances. The next thing you know that geek from IT who is always on hand and just saved your unbacked-up skin kinda has nice eyes, and the sales guy who just went top of the board for the third week in a row’s cockiness is becoming strangely alluring.
So there you are caught up in an office romance and work is fun, you wear heals and your good perfume and get butterflies when he passes and gives you a knowing nod and you can’t wait for that moment when you can both slip away into a stairwell or empty office for a passionate kiss or whatever people are bold enough to get away with in the workplace. I’m saying all this like it’s a sensibly observed critic of others, while I keep my personal business safely in my personal life but of course it’s not. I’ve fallen fowl of taking my work home with me, something which was grossly mismanaged, economically and psychology challenging and resulted with little profit and huge emotional deficit.
I was considered responsible and efficient by my colleagues, I had upped revenue and I would say moral of the other staff, I was well on the road for a raise; possibly even directorship, that was all until I started seeing a workmate. He wasn’t even anything special essentially, quiet and slow moving and always eating but there he was three days a week, I started to feel a little cheer on the days I’d see him and the next thing you know a moment of madness during after-work drinks and I found myself in a full blown romance.
It was of course strictly confidential, we kept it completely to ourselves, we would arrive separately even though we had got out of bed together and spoke to one another with no familiarity which only added to the sexual tension. This was all easy and fun when we were in the blush of a budding romance but after the first row and he’s there flirting with the receptionist and completely forgot the lunch plans we had, that email about last week’s meeting had a slight tone of hostility that made me reply with no pretence of professionalism, the bastard! That’s when things started to get sticky.
Those private brainstorms became public blame storms, we fought and made up so much that the only secret left in our relationship was that we didn’t know that everyone else knew. In hindsight I can admit that I became an irrational, emotional wreck. Break-ups are never easy but when you’ve had a few you learn to get drunk with the girls and bitch, eat ice cream and mope and then it just sort of fades into the vault of what did I ever see in him? But the office romance doesn’t fade, he is there all the time, smiling and laughing and not moping about you at all. He was now the object of desire to every female in the building, I believed every woman he spoke to wanted him like I did, I hated them! I hated him! I couldn’t focus on my work and the only way to balance things out was to make other people hate him as I did, so started the smear campaign. This office wasn’t big enough for the both of us and I was here first so one of us had to go.
Luckily I really like my new job and I certainly learnt my lesson when it comes to mixing business with pleasure. I say just like your boyfriends phone, leave it alone.
Words by Gaia Beck