Summer lovin’

May 15, 2013

The Survivalist considers the season of office romances, and whether they help or harm

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Ah, summer is with us, it seems. English summer, that is, which means that while one day the artificial beach at Ruislip lido is happily groaning with Size 18 ladies in Size 12 swimsuits, the next day the wind- and rain-swept curve of sand looks about as much fun as the Normandy landings.

The Survivalist hates summer. Partly because the bunker gets hot, and partly because the sight of young couples tumbling into the biochemical tyranny of romance turns his grizzled old stomach.

So, to office romances. Most of the lawyers the Survivalist knows are married to other lawyers. Not all of them, but quite a lot. It stands to reason, when you think about it. Spending 18 hours and most weekends in the office, you don’t get a lot of time to chase tail unless it happens to be pinstriped or wearing one of those dowdy suits that pass for ‘acceptable’ female dress in law firms.

Tell me more, tell me more

If you are going to fall in love in the office, good luck. But you’d be better off bearing a few things in mind.

First, think about how it might affect your career. Some firms have a formal ban on partners having a romantic entanglement or even being married to a co-worker.

This came as a very rude shock to one lovely girl I met who was politely asked to leave her firm when her boyfriend was put up for partnership. Although the firm’s profits were very healthy, and so – if she had stayed with him (or him with her, I guess) – she’d have been in clover, that wasn’t quite the point. She was asked to choose between her career and her relationship. Nasty.

Second, you will come in for some flak from colleagues. If you’re dating someone above you, favouritism is always going to be suspected. Of course, if you’re the kind of scheming beeyatch/buck who has done this precisely because it will help you get on, good luck to you. But the fall, if and when it comes, will be ugly.

If you’re going to do it, do it well (a-well-a-well-a-huh)

One intriguing piece of US research The Survivalist stumbled on recently found that while most employees thought men had office relationships for love or ego (sex) reasons, most women did it for their careers. So if you’re a babe, you’ll be labelled a scheming babe whether you like it or not.

The Survivalist’s advice would be to be very, very careful about an office relationship. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and that your eyes are open. Otherwise, when it ends, you could end up losing more than the love of your life.

Stay frosty. TS

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