In the Sac with Patrick and Jamie: Office Romances

Dear Patrick and Jamie,

I’ve found a guy that I’m totally into – smart, ambitious and funny. Problem is, he works in my office. Is it ever cool to date someone from work?

Thanks,

Anna C. from Curtis Park

PATRICK’S TAKE:

In my experience, office hookups are unavoidable – like the expired yogurt in your fridge that you know will end badly – sometimes you’re just hungry not matter how bad the outcome. We spend the bulk of our time in the workplace – making it tough to meet people anywhere else. Hooking up with a co-worker is exciting because there is risk involved. The mere idea of “getting caught” is part of the attraction: “Did somebody see us making out in front of the water cooler?” “Did you see how Judy in accounting looked at us?”

Just kidding. Nobody has accounting departments.

Honestly though, workplace hookups are almost unavoidable. Usually, the majority of your co-workers are people you’d never be romantically interested in outside of work, but by nature of seeing the same people every day you’re bound to get hot for someone. I hated California Girls the first time I heard it, but let that song play 500 times on the radio and, you know, I’m not so mad at it anymore. I’ve had two workplace hookups throughout my “professional” career. I’ve learned lessons from both:

  1. Make sure you two do not work in the same department. When the shit hits the fan, it is comforting to know that you work on separate floors on different projects.
  2. Make sure your office boo does not work in the HR department. Trust me on this.
  3. No pillow talk. If your hookup ends badly, expect that post-coital story you told about “Bill’s morning bathroom routine” to come back and haunt you.
  4. If you’re going to hook up with a higher-up, plan to do it around the Christmas party. Nothing says “Happy Birthday Jesus” like some eggnog and a huge end-of-the-year-bonus.

Jokes aside, I’ve decided that it’s best to keep professional connections out of your bedroom. Work hook-ups may be exciting, but it’s nearly impossible to get the vision of the Project Manager’s tennis shoes and nylons out of your mind even when she’s not wearing them. Take it from me when I say nothing good can come from getting it on with a colleague – except for a memory to fantasize about while you’re falling asleep in next month’s staff meeting.

JAMIE’S TAKE:

It depends. I know that isn’t the cut-and-dried response you were looking for, but there are no easy answers to this question. So in the spirit of Cosmo and every other “women’s magazine” that claims to help you lose 10 lbs., dress like Anna Wintour, and have better orgasms, I created a test to let you know how appropriate – or inappropriate – your potential office romance is. Just answer the following questions and tally up your points at the end!

1. How serious are you about this job?
a. You’re planning on turning this position into a career -5
b. This is your third job in as many weeks and you’re already interviewing for a new one +5

2. How serious are you about this relationship?
a. You are seriously interested in this person +5
b. You are seriously interested in seeing them naked -5

3. What is your work environment like?
a. You work in an office with more than 25 people +5
b. You work in an office with less than 25 people -5
c. You’re a mad scientist, and you work in a basement laboratory with an assistant named Igor +5 (if you’re a mad scientist cooped up in a basement, Igor’s probably your best chance)

4. What are your positions? (Minds out of the gutter, people!)
PART I
a. He/She is your boss -5
b. You’re his/her boss -5
c. You’re both in line to become the boss -50
PART II
d. He/She is an intern -5
e. You’re an intern -5
f. You’re both interns +50

5. How much do you value your privacy?
a. You don’t mind your dirty laundry being aired +5
b. You’re so private you make Howard Hughes look like an exhibitionist -5
c. It doesn’t matter; everyone in the office already thinks you’re sleeping together +10

6. What line of work are you in?
a. You work at a bar, hair salon, or other similarly “fun” place of employment where “hooking up” is the norm +5
b. You work for an undertaker -5
c. You work as a hair stylist for an undertaker (draw – 0 points)

BONUS QUESTION
a. If you were characters on The Office, you’d be Pam & Jim +5
b. If you were characters on The Office, you’d be Dwight & Angela -5
c. If you were characters on The Office, you’d be Michael & Jan -10

ANSWER KEY

  • -0: You are Shirley MacLaine & Jack Lemmon in The Apartment (1960). If – and that’s a very big if – your relationship lasts, it will be fraught with heartbreak, infidelity, and depression.
  • 0-25: You are Maggie Gyllenhall & James Spader in The Secretary (2002). Things might work out, but you and your partner will likely engage in sadomasochistic behavior and everyone around you will think it’s unhealthy.
  • 26-50: You are Catherine Zeta-Jones & Aaron Eckhart in No Reservations (2007). Your relationship has a decent chance of surviving, but it will receive mediocre reviews and no one will want to watch it.
  • 50+: You are Meg Ryan & Harrison Ford in Working Girl (1988). You may encounter some rough patches at the start, but if you work hard and stay true to your heart, you will live happily ever after – and land that big promotion!

EDITOR’s NOTE: “In the Sac with Patrick and Jamie” is GOTG’s new dating/relationship advice column. Patrick Harbison is the blogger behind PWeekly and Sacramento’s 2010 Most Eligible Bachelor. Jamie Romas has been a GOTGer since day 1. Both hold PhD’s in Psychology and Counseling…ok, that last part is false, but they have had their share of dating and relationship mishaps, and are ready to help Sacramento find love! Submit your questions (anonymously) to girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.

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5 Comments

  1. ashley robinson says

    this was very good! hooray new column! very funny.

    on a personal note, i met my husband while we were working together. actually, he was my boss and i was the intern. however, when we did have a major rough path, being in the same office with him was a nightmare. so, it can end well, just watch out!

  2. Stephanie says

    Hilarious! Great addition. I want to hear the HR story. hahaha

  3. Jamie says

    Ashley- According to the quiz, what would you and your husband have scored? I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a high number…

  4. Jennifer says

    Love this. I’d date both of you!

  5. Amelia Neufeld says

    This is such a cute feature!! When is the next one coming? What about something about work holiday parties?

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