May I start this by saying that I am TOTALLY NOT JUDGING YOU. If you left your partner because of a wild office romance that turned into love, then power to you. I've heard many a-story of people locking eyes above the photocopier and realising that they had to leave their dead-end relationships, setting up home together and living happily ever after. That's great! I'm really happy for you if that's you.
It's just that I cannot wrap my brain around the idea of ever shacking up with someone I work with. Just, no. Not for me.
Just yesterday at work, we were discussing how in the seven years that the company I work for has been running, not one romance has developed. Not one! There have never been any secret liaisons in the car park, cigarette breaks that turn into a quick fumble. Never any revelations on drunken Christmas parties that Dave fancies Tina and wants to take her out. No knowing glances over the kettle in the morning.
I suppose that professional publishing is inherently un-sexy anyway, and talking about accountancy doesn't really get one heated up and in need of a quick dash to the toilets to let off steam. But still, nothing in seven years! Maybe it's because there are only about 20 of us here on a good day. Maybe we're all gross.
This isn't the case for every office I've worked in, though. There was the secret relationship between operations director and client services manager, kept under wraps until they ended up snogging in full view of everyone at the office Christmas 'do. To be honest, I was really glad that happened because it kind of took the focus off the fact that a guy in IT and I stole the work van and drove back to mine half way through the night to drink vodka and orange squash. The things you'll drink when you're 19. Heinous.
One office I worked in was absolutely rife for office shagging. There were a couple of established couples that were out in the open, but when you scratched a couple of millimetres below the surface there were definitely other things occuring. People would come in in the clothes from the night before, mysteriously arriving at the same time as their colleague.
In the year (or just under) that I worked there, I think I must have heard rumours of about six or seven hook ups, some of which were definitely extramarital. Hotel rooms would be booked after work 'dos and shadows would slip in and out in the early hours. Awkward silences on Monday morning and flushed cheeks would give the game away. We knew it! You boned. What will your wife say? Oops! I said I wasn't going to judge. Sorry.
A guy I work with was telling me how, in the last office he worked in, they had a medical room on-site that in the end had to be locked up forever because his colleagues would sneak away from their desks and use the bed in there for a furious mid-morning screw. He told me how there was an empty floor in the building that people would go down to and shag against the lone vending machine, giving new meaning to a "Diet Coke break."
See, the thing is, I just wouldn't be able to stand spending all day in an office with someone I was then going to go home with. I'm a believer in keeping my home life and work life separate -- I would never want to dip my pen in the company ink. I like to get home, maybe recap my day over the course of about ten minutes and then move swiftly on to non-work related matters, like whether Adam Richman is going to complete the Suicide Six Wing Challenge or discussing in detail what kind of take away we should get on Friday night. Pressing matters! (Indonesian this Friday, since you were wondering.)
I love my job, but I don't like taking it home with me. Similarly, I love my work mates, some are genuinely like family, but I don't want to take them home with me, either. I spend seven hours a day with them, and that's enough. I like to go in, get my work done, and leave.
The closest I got to blurring the work-life balance was when Chris and I both worked in the same town, about half-an-hour away from home. We would get up in the morning, travel to work together, meet up for an hour's lunch break, travel home together back to the home we shared. It was too much -- I need that separation of working day and leisure time. I didn't like that the lines were blurred, it was a little too intense.
Obviously I am happily co-habiting, so the likelihood of me shacking up with someone I work with is non-existent. However, that's not the case for over a third of the 'cheating female respondents' of a survey undertaken by a dating website. The survey asked the 3,256 women -- who have all cheated on their partners, be them current or previous -- who they first cheated with. Thirty-six percent stated that their first episode of infidelity was with someone they met at work.
See, if I were single, and I worked in an office where hook-ups were a possibility, I still don't think I'd go for it. I'd worry too much about what would happen after. A casual fling that ends in one party being more interested in the other, and then having to spend 7 hours a day with them in limbo? No thanks.
Also, I don't think it helps that I am currently OBSESSED with "Drop Dead Diva" and the whole Kim Kaswell and Jay Parker thing just gives me The Fear. They worked together! They shagged! He cheated! She had to leave! ARGH.
So, I'm interested. Have you ever cheated with a colleague? Or maybe you were single and met someone who you ended up really falling for at work? Or are you like me, and the idea of banging anyone you work with makes you dry up inside? Do you think my massive aversion to shagging colleagues is because I don't work in a sexy enough industry? SHARE!
Natalie tweets on the reg during work hours at @Natalie_KateM