Thursday, March 22, 2007
A Rise In The Importance Of Workmates
The article at the link below discusses the phenomenon of the "work spouse". This is a kind of partnership that springs up between colleagues at the workplace, implicitly between a male and a female. The article isn't talking about workplace romances - these relationships are strictly platonic, but intimate nonetheless. Some folks who work together become like old married couples. They finish each other sentences, they exhibit the same facial expressions, they seem even to read each other's minds. Come to think of it, they sound more like identical twins raised in isolation than mere married couples.
The phenomenon is on the rise, which seems like a good thing. The article speculates on the reasons why. Is it because Americans are spending more time at work? Very likely. Is it because they are emotionally more attached to their workplace than to their homes? Perhaps. It is certainly more prevalent among younger workers, who depend on the workplace for making social contacts more than their elders do. According to a survey of 2,000 workers, almost half of the younger ones "said the availability of support or networking programs for employees with common interests was a very important factor in their decision to join and remain with an employer", as opposed to little over a third of the older workers. Corporations have become a lot scarier and more competitive than they used to be as well, which may cause co-workers to bond more closely simply for the sake "of survival" - sort of like foxhole buddies during World War Two. Once established however, such intimacy can imbue workmates with the sense of a common mission, and make the work itself more exciting.
As for office romances, they too are on the rise. According to another survey, 60 percent of workers reported having dated officemates, as opposed to only 46 percent just three years ago. The office has become the center of our world in many ways now, whether we really want it to be or not.
"'Work spouses' are part of office culture" from The New Observer