The work environment, just as the name implies is a place one expects to go and get the job done. It is often times, a sterile, stiff place where there is a lot of pretence and egocentric behaviour. It is one place you go to improve on yourself and career by striving to put your best foot forward at all times in order to assure management that you are suitable for the job, capable of holding the trust imposed on you and always ready to put in your professional best at all assignments. Surely, this is hardly the place where one will expect to find love or engage in an emotional affair.
However, this happens all of the time.
Depending on company policy and the level of permissiveness of the workers in a certain work place, office romance, either between a superior or subordinate, or same level workers might not always be the right decision to make when you are seriously considering making it to the top of your career in an organisation. Just as it is not likely to be your best emotional and hormonally triggered move of all times. The truth is that office romance 85% of the time hardly ever augurs well for those who engage in it. Ironically, the women are always the worst victim when the chips are down, no matter their status, married or single.
When Susan clinched a job at one of the top respectable media outfits in Lagos about 12 years ago, she was like the proverbial beautiful bride whom many of the guys desired her hands. She was truly beautiful with a petite, hour glass figure and naturally shiny, fair skin and could have had any guy of her choice in and outside of her work environment. Unfortunately, she settled for a young chap in the office, though not from her department. The roller coaster relationship lasted almost seven years, with Susan struggling to hold everything together, despite all the odds staring her in the face. For, at a time, perhaps to force his hands or lay her claim on him because of his pussy footing, she even moved into his apartment, making her case worse than necessary.
Eventually, the centre could no longer hold and it gave way. Richard called it off and told those who cared to listen that he wanted an executive and not a secretary as his better half. He had a big, funfair of a wedding, right before her tearful eyes and the bewilderment of co-workers.
Many of us thought it was the most despicable thing to do to someone who had openly displayed much love, devotion and sacrifice to another. As expected however, some others thought the affair simply ended the way it ought to. Susan had little or no hiding place, for her character as a person was ever on display for all to see and criticise because we were all clustered together.
She was proud, she was rude as well as a social climber who wanted to marry above her level, they said, forgetting that there were times she’d had to chip in her widow’s might to help Richard achieve his goals, after all, he was no silver spoon kid, they all came from some remote villages in Eastern Nigeria. Shortly after his wedding, Richard left the company for a more prestigious post at the nation’s capital, leaving Susan at the mercy of the murky waters of the relationship market, beauty and age, no longer on her side after she recovered from the embarrassment and depression.
This is not to say that such is the fate of all office romances as quite a number of them do end in happily ever after stories. We have quite a few of them here at the Vanguard Media, just as we also have the love gone sour stories too. However, the odds against office affairs surviving are rather high and the aftermaths often leave very bitter and lingering taste in the mouth.
For the woman such as in Susan’s case, she gets to take the famous “walk of shame”. Everyone knows who has been bedding her. And though they did not see the physical action, imaginations are usually rife and snippets of details shared between the lovers and their supposed close pals often help to fuel gossips about their sex life. And even though this might sound outdated and stereo type, women are more at the brunt and butt of jokes and opinions when it comes to sex as opposed to men. Thus, women are more battered when office relationships leak or don’t work out.