An article in USA Today about workplace romances:
Finding love at the office is more likely and less taboo than in the past, suggest two new surveys on workplace romance to be released Thursday. Forty percent of employees reported being involved in such a romance at some point in their careers, says a poll conducted jointly by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com, TheWall Street Journal’s online career site.
Another survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for America Online, found that 54% of single men and 40% of women said they would be open to dating a co-worker.
“People realize they’re going to be at work such long hours, it’s almost inevitable that this takes place,” says Jessica Collison, manager of the SHRM survey program.
In my mind, it takes a special kind of mean employer to forbid any and all romantic entanglements at the office. Once you get out of college, finding a romantic partner becomes a lot more difficult. Depriving people who spend 40-50 hours a week working of the one place where they are often surrounded by people seems to simply be an exercise of sadism on the part of the employer. Yes, I’m aware of the problems that it can cause. Yes, I do think that employees should think twice before embarking on such a thing.
But one thing employers sometimes need to work at is becoming more than just jobs. They often lecture employees that they want people who want careers at the company and not job. That means encouraging socialization. Letting work be a social hub will often make people more reluctant to leave. I know that one of the things I will miss most about Falstaff is the people. I’m obviously not in the relationship market, but if I were the fact that there is a constant flow of single young ladies would not escape my attention (though there would also be the problem that they’re LDS and 10 years my junior, but you get the idea).
Many workplaces are inconducive to it. Wildcat was over 80% male and 0% unmarried-female-below-40. But the Hellion-Employer-I-Have-Not-Named in Colosse and Falstaff, on the other hand, are not that way. In fact, Marcel was an OSI programmer and Suzanne a copychecker when they met. They’re now married and because of that Marcel came back to work for us part-time when we needed it. Before Suzanne, Marcel and Teddy Forbes were competing for another copychecker. Life goes on.
Of course, this can all be taken to a ludicrous extreme. Bregna, the hellion-employer-I-formerly-had-not-named, did just that. They encouraged interoffice romance. In fact, if two employees there got married they would throw a huge party. Of course, if one person left they would expect the other person to leave, as well, because they discouraged friendships with former employees and strongly discouraged romances. If they could prohibit it they would. They went beyond wanting a social hub towards wanting your life to be dedicated to this company both professionally and personally.
They were that weird.
Anyway, I got a kick out of Costa’s recommendation for Help Wanted ads:
Maybe help-wanted ads should tout the dateworthiness of the staff. “Equal Opportunity Employer, open work atmosphere, flextime, and at half the chicks in Marketing are single.”
I’ve seen a few of such articles lately, so the topic has been on my mind.