I’ve been sharing my favorite workplace love stories this week in honor of Valentine’s Day.
I was going to finish with a salacious tale of a married manager who made two very special women his Valentine — neither of which were his wife … when my own Valentine caused me to rethink it. He asked a really simple question:
Can Love At Work … Work?
In my experience, the answer is usually no. Then I remembered one of my favorite couples started out as a workplace romance …
Melissa and Ted worked for the same employer at two unrelated jobs in unrelated departments. The only time they saw each other was during lunch. They spent almost a year pretending not to notice each other before she finally took the lead and asked him out.
They had great chemistry — they talked, they laughed and they truly enjoyed each other’s company. Their relationship took root and it blossomed. They dated for about a year then moved in together. About a year after that, they were married. And almost 10 years later, they are still together — happy and functional. Their relationship was a paradigm shift for my views on love and marriage — and I am beyond grateful to them for it.
They are living proof that love at work can work.
So what did Melissa and Ted do differently than Adam & Eva or even me & Dude??
- There was never a real conflict of interest. This occurs when one interest has the potential to cause a breakdown of integrity in order to maintain another. Other than being in the same location, their jobs were in no way related. There was no potential for their dating situation to cause either of them to act, react or enact in order to help or harm the other person.
- More than just discrete, they kept it classy. They didn’t keep their relationship a secret, but they didn’t broadcast it either. They weren’t holding hands or having knock-down-drag-out arguments during lunch. They weren’t sneaking off to supply closets to be naughty or making late night xerox copies of their butts. They weren’t using co-workers as go-betweens when they were angry with each other. They conducted themselves as professionals when they were at work and saved that other stuff for their own time.
- Eventually, someone quit. Just like long-distance relationships can’t work forever, neither can workplace romances. Eventually, someone has got to move! Before they married, Melissa and Ted both began looking for other jobs. He found one and resigned. Because, while their jobs didn’t directly impact each other, they recognized that eventually and inevitably, something was going to cause an issue. Whether it was coordination of health benefits, the FMLA or a unknowing co-working making a snide comment about the other — some kind of challenge awaited them. And instead of waiting for the other shoe to fall, they took control of the situation and made moves that were in the best interest of themselves, their future and their workplace.
Be the first to comment