Sunday, September 28, 2008
Step into my office, baby
Centuries ago it was a cinch to discover stuff. You could hardly make it out the front door in the morning without tripping over a new element to whack on the periodic table, accidently inventing the automobile or stumbling onto the previously undiscovered part of the brain responsible for convincing you stone wash jeans were ever a bright idea. Back then nobody knew even the most obvious things – evolution, the fact that the earth is round, smoking causes all lung cancer. All theories, one is inclined to feel now, you could pretty much knock up in your lunch break.
These days it’s not so easy. I mean, one hesitates to say that everything that can be invented has been invented for fear of looking as much of a tit in the future as the guy who said it back in 1898 does now but still it’s a little bit easy sometimes to feel there’s no new frontiers to explore and a complete lack of insights out there for the making.
Which is presumably why modern day researchers have now turned their razor sharp minds to motherfucking office romances. At least that’s the only explanation I can come up with – that or I’m pretty sure it’s one of the signs of the impending apocalypse.
Yes those brainboxes at Monash University are, apparently, “investigating” office romances to, among other things “(suggest) strategies and organisation guidelines” for coping with the issues thrown up by office romances and, particularly, those that turn bad.
Right. I mean really? Really??
Though I hesitate to blow my own trumpet I think I could save them a little bit of work. 1. Most relationships break up 2. Your office fling will probably break up 3. Try to dump them first so you don’t have to see them giving you pity eyes over morning conference and 4. Try not to have sex on the photocopier. Not because it makes things awkward later when, post-breakup you can still see your arse-grooves as you wait for a copy of that report but because it’s just a bit tacky, not to mention logistically tough.
I jest (poorly) but does anyone really need to have the pitfalls of office romances explained to them by someone in a white coat? Does anybody need to be told that there’s a reasonably high chance a work romance gone wrong will fuck up not only your love life but your working life too? Put your hand up if you don’t know it’s going to be awkward as fuck seeing them at work every day and to avoid such a pitfall you should probably attempt to keep your romantic life an work life separate. Now put your hand down only if you’re such a tosspot you think keeping said two things separate is in any way do-able. Righto? Good.
Over ten(ish) years of working I’ve had freaking dozens of work crushes and exactly one decent work romance. While I was working my way through uni at, um, Woolworths. Ahem. Ours was a love born of a deep shared appreciation for Morrissey, vague hostility towards customers and a lack of desire to work particularly hard at uni. It started off very promisingly, chugged along perfectly happily for about eight months and ended pretty badly, necessitating this conversation at a party:
HIM: You don’t want to talk about it?
ME: Honestly? Not really.
HIM: You don’t think we have to? I mean about what’s going on?
ME: Well, um…we’ve broken up.
HIM: Have we?
ME: Oh. Uh, yes.
(Two minutes later)
HIM: Can I get a lift home?
Were things tense at work afterwards? Of course. Did I employ a range of techniques and strategies inteneded to minimise the pain on both sides? Er no: although it was pretty distressing at the time the reality was I avoided him, he avoided me and we made do.
The thing is that nobody is ever going to stop having office affairs just because they might go wrong, just as nobody is ever really going to stop having affairs full stop just because it’s odds-on to end in heartbreak and misery on at least one side. In the same way, having “strategies” in place to deal with office romances, should they go wrong, is just as fucking useless as having them in place to deal with the collapse of any relationship – you can plan all you want but you’re still going to feel like shit, irritate your friends by having long boring conversation in which they tell you “you could do so much better” while their eyes plead silently for death and either gain or lose 10 pounds.
Planning for the end before it’s arrived is stupid – if that’s the road you want to take why not just get yourself a bad haircut and go on a bender now to cut out the middle man? Better yet skip straight to the rebound fling with that cutie in IT – you know he wants you and he can probably fix the photocopier afterwards.