Like many corporate slugs, I spend a lot of time in an office. I mean, like gross mega-maniacal amounts of time sitting in my chair, in front of my computer, doing sometimes seemingly pointless work. I’d venture to say that many folks feel imprisoned in the office and dream of better days spent lounging on a beach chair just listening to the waves. Alas, life calls, and there are bills, and so we keep coming back whether we want to or not. But there are some folks who’ve managed to spice up their bland corporate existences and, dare I say, even have some fun. I refer, of course, to the ol’ office romance.
Throw two people together who wouldn’t otherwise necessarily have anything in common, get them working together for long periods of time and you’ve got the perfect recipe for office lust. Office Joe begins realizing that Sue over in billing is suddenly starting to look hot. Now, if Office Joe were to see Sue on the street, she wouldn’t necessarily cause a rise in Joe’s Levi’s. But when he sees her in the office day in and day out, and his mind grows numb with the work he’s been hired to do, a fling with Sue seems like the perfect cure for what ails him. In my day job I have access to a lot of confidential information, and it’s interesting to see what some people do at work besides working. Texting, sexting, flirting over e-mails, long “lunches” away, a quick feel in the closet, a romp on the desk, on and on and on. A 2011 CareerBuilder survey revealed 38% of respondents said they’ve dated a colleague. Other surveys put the number even higher. But other than the mere fact that you’re spending a lot of time with someone, what’s the appeal? Where are there so many trysts? What’s so darn fun about having sex in the office?
I’m thinking that for starters, there’s a multitude of places in which to do the deed. Your office, their office, conference room, closet, bathroom, breakroom . . . a plethora of options! But I also think that part of the appeal of office romances is the illicitness of it all. You have sex in the boardroom with a colleague, and the next day you and he are sitting together in that same boardroom in a meeting, stealing glances at each other as you remember what happened a mere few hours ago. It’s yours and his dirty, juicy little secret.
The problem with office romances is that often, inevitably, they end, and you and your now ex are still expected to work together. There’ve been situations in which former office lovers turn into office enemies and it can be career suicide if someone decides to get nasty. But as you’re flirting with that hot guy in marketing, you’re not thinking about how things will end just as you’re focusing on getting them started.
I’ve never had an office romance myself, but I’d love to hear about experiences from others and whether the risk was worth the reward.