OPINION

The Office Spouse

October 31, 2008
IdeaSmith

He's brash, extroverted and friendly. He's smart and he knows it. He is loud and unapologetic about it. He's a finance guy. And he's my Office Spouse. Well, he used to be. Since he's changed jobs, I'm find myself in a state of singlehood at work as well. Work is good, work is well but I miss my buddy.

He christened me his Office Spouse without so much as a 'May I?' but it was done with so much of gregarious charm I saw no reason to deny it. Mercifully there was none of that nasty nudge-nudge sort of gossip...well nothing that ever got to me anyway. He silenced everyone with a booming declaration of,

An Office Spouse is someone at work who you talk to and crib to. Sometimes you can't stand them but you miss them on their off-days and you wonder how you'd get through the workplace madness without them!
Cho chweet, no? That's almost better than any of the romantic fluff that's come my way. And before you wonder, he's married - happily so. His wife (then girlfriend) was introduced to me with ...(what else?) loud-voiced,
This is your counterpart at office! The woman who fights with me at work!
We looked at each other, shrugged and burst into laughter and I knew my Office Spouse was great at picking his women - in his personal life and professional life.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

 
So what is this deal with the Office Spouse? My Office Spouse was someone I'd have been friends with, if I'd met him at a party or a friend's place or school or college too. We didn't really work together so we didn't have that much of work-related stuff to discuss. But since we worked for the same company, in the same office, we could share those insider jokes. After a marathon 3-hour negotiation on the phone, I was the one who he steamrolled into an emergency coffee break. On an annoying day or in a boring meeting, he was the pal across the table, I'd roll my eyes at, when the powers-that-be weren't looking.

As work eats into our lives more and more each day...in terms of the hours we spend at office as well as mindspace we give to it, our professional worlds increasingly get to be as big as, if not bigger than, our personal spaces. And in a world of madness, it's always good to have someone to navigate it with, right?

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

 *Sigh* I do miss my Office Spouse. I was the first to know about his upcoming promotion, his transfer and then later, his move. I haven't had a chance to tell him about all the things that have been happening in my professional life. And the next chance I get to speak to him, I'm probably gonna holler...

Yo, buddy, whats up in the sticks? Are you managing to survive without me? It just got to be too much without you to nag so I shifted too!

I call myself a chronic thinker. A few centuries ago, I'd have been called a Thinker. Or burnt at stake for being a witch. My degree is my passport to the world of respectability. I moonlight as a troubled poet, a warrior princess and a closet sorceress. I am all of these and yet none of them is all of me. All I was born to be really, was a story-teller. Scheherazade, Galelio, Cleopatra and Salvador have passed through. This time round, just call me IdeaSmith.
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#1
smallsquirrel
October 31, 2008
01:53 PM

I miss my work husband. Before I moved to India, he and I were a great team. I am a democrat, he is an avowed republican. he is a brainiac, and I am, well... a bit more gregarious. he is a bit more reserved and I will laugh right out loud in the middle of a meeting.

we worked very well together. we made fun of each other and we balanced each other out.

Now that i am back in the US, we are in different offices and we do not work together any more. but I still talk to him all the time, his real wife and I email back and forth, and we all met up a couple weekends ago and our families had fun playing together.

I do not have a work spouse at my current job and I really, really miss it. :(

#2
Anuradha
URL
November 1, 2008
12:10 PM

Now that I am not working, this post reminded me of all those people who would have fitted into the definition of office spouse.

#3
Deepti Lamba
URL
November 1, 2008
12:45 PM

As work eats into our lives more and more each day...in terms of the hours we spend at office as well as mindspace we give to it, our professional worlds increasingly get to be as big as, if not bigger than, our personal spaces.

See, this is where I have seen marriages break up and office affairs begin.

When work becomes one's life and a friend becomes more than just a friend marriages get wrecked.

I rather call 'Office Spouses' best friends at work and gender ideally should not come into play.

There can only be one spouse at the end of the day to return home to and be with.


#4
kerty
November 1, 2008
01:15 PM

Office is like a second home and we often develop lasting relationships there. We share work, try to be there for each other, work like a team that is almost like a family. Work-mates become permanent witnesses and confidants of trials, tribulations and transitions of our lives.

However, 'spouse' is a bit loaded word. It implies certain benefits goes with it. Workplace should not be where people look for co-workers with benefits. It can compromise professional integrity and create vulnerabilities that can be abused and exploited. As the saying goes, work while work and play while play is the best policy.

#5
smallsquirrel
November 1, 2008
02:08 PM

I see these as two very separate issues.

we all need allies at work. and office spouses are not someone with which you flirt mercilessly or toy with the idea of having an affair. they are simply someone with whom you gel and work well with and rely on them to have your back.

that is very different than having an affair.

the two should not be confused. and I suppose that it could be someone of the same gender, but because of competition in the workplace that never seems to happen.

#6
Chaitanya S
November 1, 2008
06:48 PM

I find this concept of an office spouse pretty interesting.

Apologies for my ignorance, but what do you call the person fulfilling all the above criteria if he/ she is of the same gender ? Wouldn't that lead to some unhealthy "nudge nudge gossip"

What if a person has polygamus relationships at the work place (say 2 very very close friends). Should that be looked down upon or should it just be laughed off as "office spice"

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