Should you risk your career for love?

Should you risk your career for love?
Fri, Sep 2, 2022, Matar Faye

It is often taboo, sometimes even forbidden, and is the subject of many fantasies. But love in the office is above all a reality: nearly a third of couples meet at work. Investigation of a perilous exercise.

When Abdou and his girlfriend met at the financial consulting firm they both worked for, they initially tried to hide their relationship. Like the majority of couples who start an intimate relationship in the office. But like many cases, “things got known. And everything went downhill. Trust issues, things left unsaid, misunderstandings arose within our team. " Results ? The two lovers ended up leaving the company. “But we are still together! Love at the office? It is a very delicate game, to be tried only if the person is worth the candle! ". However, the professional world is one of the most conducive places to meet and the most innovative companies would be those where intimate relationships are the most numerous. “Who is with whom? A banal discussion that takes place every day in front of all the coffee machines. But which reflects a reality much more complicated than it seems and above all, not without danger. Between taboo and fantasies Love in the office, we talk about it everywhere: in the canteen, in the hallways, during breaks... Except, between managers and human resources managers in companies. When asked if there are any intimate or sexual relationships within their organization, most of the time they answer 'no, we don't have that'. If they accept that people can take 10 minutes to smoke a cigarette, it is inconceivable to them that they can spend this time kissing. As if, somewhere, an unofficial hierarchy was created by the pleasure of bodies, escaping the official hierarchy. In some countries, some companies even go so far as to prohibit their employees from dating. Love in the office: a subject that remains taboo but that makes more than one fantasizes about it. Who has never felt a desire for their boss, their co-worker, the new kid or the new intern? A place conducive to meetings It must be said that the business world is an ideal place to meet someone. We play a role in it. Unlike at home, we force ourselves to be careful, to dress properly, to respect the rules of civility. From the job interview, we find ourselves in a relationship of seduction. In addition, we spend most of our time there and we work there with people who have the same interests as us... Something to make meeting people easier. “It came like that, after 6 months, says Marième, 35 years old. We spent a lot of time together; we often went to lunch together. We ended up getting to know each other well. And we had discovered the same tastes. And if we are told repeatedly that love and work do not go well together, everything invites us to mix private and professional lives. Late night meetings, working dinners, parties, seminars... It is sometimes difficult to establish a boundary. Love and productivity Initially, Marième had no intention of falling in love with one of her colleagues. “But in the end, it was nice to go to work with a smile at the idea of finding him. It was an extra motivation." Especially in a professional world marked by the crisis, budgetary restrictions and layoffs. “Building intimate relationships in the workplace is a way of rebuilding life in an often violent and sometimes even deadly universe. This allows you to feel like you exist again, looked at, valued. Would love at work be so dangerous then? Can't it also improve our productivity? The most innovative companies are those where there are the most intimate relationships. “The creative drive is never far from the sexual drive”. Gossip, jealousy, distrust Love is a luxury that work cannot afford. It's not made for that. We put ourselves in danger and we put our work in danger. Obviously, nothing prevents us from having relations with office colleagues. Unless our work suffers. But what is certain is that such a relationship brings its share of complications. “We came together by car, one always entered before the other, remembers Marième. But people weren't fooled." There is gossip, which you have to deal with, the jealousy of some, the mistrust of others... And things get even more difficult when you work in the same team. “How to give an order in such cases? This prohibits any conflict. What if one is increased and the other is not? ". Aissatou worked for a long time in advertising, where she met her first husband. “When we work in the same team, there is a risk of favoritism, that each decision is badly perceived, that we are isolated a little too. Me, I had become the chef's wife, the one to whom we don't tell everything. People weren't natural with me anymore. » When the breakup comes Yes, love in the office is not without risks. Aminata bears witness to this. “For a month, I had a furtive and hidden relationship with my boss. Then he did everything to make me leave, because I had become awkward. And that's how you end up unemployed in no time. At work, 90% of relationships are ephemeral, mostly flirtations, or one-night stands. Something to think about before embarking on the exercise. What could be more repulsive than imagining yourself condemned to spend your days in front of… your ex? The code of labor in love Only here, the characteristic of love is that it falls on us without warning. In this case, it is better to adopt a loving work code. First rule: be discreet! No hints, words of love or signs of affection, Marième had promised herself. “And above all, you should not tell the ups and downs that your couple is going through to your colleagues. “Aissatou waited for the relationship to become serious to formalize it… and leave. “He had a better position than me and more responsibilities. And I did not want the meetings to continue in the evening at home. Achieving a boundary between work and home is the challenge faced by couples who work together. At Aissatou and Marième, today in a relationship with men who are not their colleagues, the same goes: it is preferable for the members of a couple to evolve in different universes. And Aissatou concludes: "if work facilitates meetings, it does not help, on the other hand, to make love last..."