Romance in the Workplace
Romance at work just sounds like a bad idea. Sure, a little flirtation could enliven a dull meeting, and the prospect of the breath-stealing kiss by the Xerox machine would get the adrenaline pumping, but what happens if it doesn’t work out?
Hmm, let’s see, co-workers who can’t stand the sight of each other, divisive hostility as other employees take sides with the parties, gossip, backbiting, sexual harassment lawsuits… It’s not pretty.
But apparently that doesn’t stop people. According to a survey sponsored by Glamour magazine and Lawyers.com, forty-one percent of employed Americans admit to having participated in an office romance.
I’d suggest that a lot comes down to simple chemistry. Like all other mammals we have a powerful urge to find a mate and, well, mate with them! It’s the reason we’re all here in the first place. When you put men and women (or, men and men, or women and women, because producing offspring often isn’t the primary goal here) in the same room, day after day, pheromones are going to start flying.
Add in the emotional component that comes from spending hours of every day with the person, working with them through deadline crunches, surviving layoffs, cooperating on challenging projects, and sooner or later there’s an excellent chance that—if both parties are single and available—lips are going to lock.
Most workplaces have no rules preventing romance because it’s not legally enforceable. Privacy and all that. And let’s face it, it’s going to happen anyway, so a policy against romance just encourages sneaking and secrecy.
Many workplace romances develop into meaningful and committed relationships. After all, what better place to find a person who likely has some of the same interests as you, maybe moves in similar circles and has similar aspirations, and presumably lives near you too?
There is one kind of relationship that everyone agrees is NEVER a good idea: Romance between a boss and subordinate. There are way too many things that can go wrong with a relationship where one person has power over the other. This is a situation that can easily result in a sexual harassment lawsuit once things turn sour.
I guess that’s what made me say—“Hmm, I’d love to write a story about a dedicated and ambitious career woman who has a one night stand with her boss.”
I like to twist the knife, so I also thought—“Even better if she took the job on the understanding that she will not even flirt with him, and certainly won’t pursue any kind of relationship, because he’s sick of scheming and fawning women who want to lay their hands on his bulging…wallet.”
Naturally, they would both feel terrible recrimination over their horrible lapse in judgment.
Then, because I’m just that evil, I wondered—“What if she gets pregnant by him?”
What a nightmare! (Jen rubs hands together with glee) And that’s where I got the idea that became my first sale.
When I did a signing of the book, whose title The Boss's Demand leaves little to the imagination, one person exclaimed “I never had a boss that looked like that!” to which I had to reply, “Me neither.” (Mine were mostly women). But if I did? Hmmmmmmmm…
I guess we’re all susceptible to temptation if the mood is right
Anyone ever succumbed to the allure of an office romance?
Jennifer's debut release, The Boss's Demand is on shelves now.
Snag a copy for yourself and win one for a friend when Jen blogs on Coffee Time Romance, or at the end of the month in the Pink Heart Society Hamper.
For more information about Jen's stories or to read an excerpt, check out her website .