Thursday, May 31, 2007

Corporate love: How do they do it?

During the glorious Memorial Day weekend I met two girlfriends at a bar patio to lounge in the sun, sip beer and catch up. In time, the talk turned to men.

The two chicks work at the same huge company, but in different departments. After a brief discussion about the man the younger chick-- in her mid-20s -- has her eye on at the office, they began to map out strategy.

I had to set down my beer in amazement, because these two weren't kidding. They were talking about plausible reasons for the younger one to be on the guy's floor, near his office. They were talking about synchronizing lunch schedules and charting when this dude went to the cafeteria -- all with the goal of "bumping" into him.

I was impressed, but I was thinking this was sounding a little high school. Then I remembered those tactics worked then -- why wouldn't they work even better now, when we know about subtlety? But I still felt like I was missing an important piece of information.

"Why don't you just walk up to him and say hi?" I ventured. They both gave me pitying "oh, Deirdre" looks and responded in unison with a firm "NO."

I've worked for newspapers since college, so I've never really experienced the cultures of banking or other big businesses. My friends said their company is conservative, confining and more than a little dull. You can't just drop by a department where you don't have any business because it'll be obvious why you're there and you'll set tongues a' wagging. And while their cafeteria machinations might seem a bit much, how else will you get to see someone from another department, like, five floors down on a regular enough basis to decide if you might be interested? Besides, the plotting and planning is fun, a bright spot in what otherwise might be a "bleh" day.

Makes sense to me. That pre-dating dance we all do -- the one where we're circling each other, trying to figure out if we want to know more -- is difficult enough without the extra burden of a corporate culture hovering above it. And yet, people often find love at work, because that's where they spend most of their time.

So I'm curious. You single folks out there with careers in similar environments: How do you handle trying to date your co-workers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every situation is a different! I know 2 girls that found their husbands at work. Does not seem it's the rule but rather the expection. In this case since it's a very conservative and gossipy work environment. I would proced with caution. So many companies especially the conservative banking ones have a rule of no dating co-workers. It can get her fired.

As you proved women can be very manipulative, and so can others who can figure out what these two are up to. There is so much space for it to blow in the girl's face if something goes wrong. Her reputation can be tainted. Let's say they go on a few dates but then he breaks it off. It will be akward no matter how many floors apart seperate you. Not to sound like a negative nancy but if your a pretty and perky 20-something girl then you should not have any problems meeting guys out of work.