(You’ve considered it, but here’s why you shouldn’t hook up with someone from work.)
You’re cramped in a corporate box of cubicles with stale motivation posters and lifeless fluorescent lighting. Your only stimulation is your coffee mug and the clicking sound of your mouse. You crave human interaction. Conversations with your coworkers are about as profound as a group of zombies looking for brains. But you spend forty hours a week with these people. That’s more than with your friends, and that’s probably more than you sleep. This ties up all of your free time to do things like, go to bars to meet the opposite sex. And while we crave these romantic interludes, our days are tied up with this big ol’ meanie called “work”. Blecch. So between a combination of boredom and proximity, we manifest a crush on someone at the office. You yearn for the fleeting interactions at the water cooler or that awkward tension in the elevator. It’s a much needed dopamine break from the incessant blinking cursor at you desk that stares at you, silently judging.
A chime rings on your speakers.
“Company happy hour”.
Three reasons you shouldn’t have an office romance:
It’s not going to work (no seriously, it’s not going to work)
Trust me, it’s not going to work. What’s going to happen, is an ultimate fiery demise that’s going to napalm your work environment. But for some reason you went ahead and did it anyway. The tension spilled over and now you’ve become the office gossip. This means everyone is going to want to meddle in your affairs. The beginning stages of a relationship are like a soufflé, and you don’t want everyone coming over and screaming at it. It needs to be protected, raised, and coddled. Dating only has a 15% success rate (according to a study I made up for this column) and now with all this outside pressure from others, your chances are drastically reduced. If you’re in it just for the sex, you’re better off with some solo time in your bedroom. That ten minutes of pleasure isn’t worth the eternity of office place awkwardness.
It’s going to make your work place a hostile environment.
Aww, you guys broke up? That’s so sad. No shit. Now you have to time your bathroom trips and lunch breaks so they don’t coincide with your awkwardly passing each other in the hallway. A week goes by. HR calls you in. You have to sign sexual harassment paperwork. What? It doesn’t matter what really happened, because it’s always a guy’s fault, and no jury will see it otherwise. So now, not only have you made going to work more unpleasant than it already is, you have possible legal proceedings threatening your career. The career you worked so hard for, all that schooling and late nights at the office, may now be in jeopardy because you wanted to try out Sally/Mike in accounting.
Let’s say it does work, which it’s not, now what?
Did I already mention it’s not going to work? Because it’s not going to work. But let’s say it does work. You kids are just two destined stars that crossed paths in the universe (like many have before and many will in the future). You have to think this through. Not only will you be spending weekends and weeknights together, you’ll also see them 40 hours a week at work in addition to that. There is no escape. Even if you love someone, from time to time you need a break. There is value in “missing” someone, yearning creates passion. Now, your dates together are just as mundane as missionary and American Idol pizza night. It’s one thing to love someone, it’s another thing entirely to see them all day, every day, until the end of time.
Trust me, I get it. She’s been looking pretty fantastic in that pencil skirt as she walks around the office. You love the smell of his cologne that lingers when he saunters past your cubicle. But this is Los Angeles, there are four million other people here. Why can’t you find someone else to spend the rest of your life with? Is it possible you’ve spent too many nights with vampire bondage novels and you’re over romanticizing this? Is it possible you’ve watched too much secretary porn and you’re only thinking with your hard drive? Office crushes are fun, and can pass the time, but they’re ill advised for many more reasons than listed in your HR paperwork. With all of the above in mind, if you must, if you absolutely must do it, be discreet and make sure they’re worth it.
[Photo: The wolves in downtown Los Angeles.]