Harassment, innuendos, bedrooms and boardroom games….these are stereotype issues. I would like to talk about a different issue- personal life vs. work life and the need to date and find companionship.
I am single, divorced, and dating and I work a 40-hour workweek most weeks. When I get off work, after stopping by the grocery store, I fix dinner and find my evening occupied by the things that I still have left to do (house chores, kitty-cat needs, writing to finish, etc.). I have found the men I spend the most time around are the men I work with. Quite a few of them are married with children and not available. The single men have issues such as overtime, job commitments, and laundry when they get home. Most of us do not have a lot of time, energy and effort left over to find that “special other someone” and most of us cannot connect in the workplace where the job we work is our first consideration. This leaves a lot of older, single, independent people (including myself) wondering how and where we are supposed to meet someone else to be with.
On-line is a first-line answer, until everyone lives over 60 miles away and no one wants to chat face to face. Then there are economic considerations, such as spending money for dinner just to “meet up” for the first time. The workplace becomes somewhere more necessary to find potential mates and the opportunities are full of pitfalls- some of which follow:
1) “Never sleep up”. If an attractive man is in a position above you, he is immediately off limits.
2) Do not “Do the office”. No one ever gets serious about someone that has been in bed with everyone.
3) “If he wears a ring it is not the thing”, then you are just cheap, used, a secret to be ashamed of.
4) Partners at work cannot partner. Competition and infighting is rough as it is. A personal disagreement cannot do anything but ruin a working team effort between two people.
I have had a relationship with someone in my office before. He worked part-time behind the desks that I was full time on. We moved in together and although we talked over our personal work issues at home, we never brought personal into the workplace. We did always drive home together and arrive together. Knowing we were together still caused problems for some people. When the relationship went south, my job went south. I left my job and the relationship still did not work out. As a single woman, looking for a long-time companion, I find options are not easily available and the workplace does not make this easier. On the other hand, I value my capability to sustain my life and my needs more than a “throw-away” relationship that can take those from me. Perhaps one day, we will become people relating to people, even in the workplace, without stigmas. At this point, they still exist.