Everyone knows that choosing a work spouse is the most important, if not only, thing you’ll ever accomplish at work. In sickness and health, conference calls and team lunches, reorgs and mergers, picking your work spouse can greatly improve your happiness in the office. Or it can completely ruin your life. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind before you choose a work spouse.
1. Lower your expectations
When looking for your work spouse you might be tempted to seek out someone who is good-looking or charming, but it’s better to focus on someone who’s available. It’s also better if they’re not on the same team because it will give you the opportunity to find out the gossip you’re missing from other departments.
2. Find someone who hates the same things
Perhaps you both avert your eyes when the COO comes in wearing his bike shorts. Maybe you both crack up when the CEO mentions dongles or have a mutual disdain for that one annoying guy on the sales team. Whatever it is, there needs to be a bit of common ground on which to build your work marriage. Without that, you’re just coworkers.
3. Show interest by laughing at their jokes
Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time for the real work to begin. You’ll need to reply to them often in group emails and on public Slack channels. Laugh at their jokes. Ask about their big presentation. Find out if their boss is as annoying as she seems. Express interest in who they are as a person and respect their Fantasy Football picks.
4. Send out a request for proposal
After spending time together at mandatory work events and picking up trash together at the company’s required volunteer day, send them a Facebook friend request to make it official. Send a like or two to your work spouse’s FB posts and comment where appropriate. Now feel free to stop by their desk at least once a day and talk about your life outside of work, if you have one.
5. Consummate the relationship with a private Slack channel
Once your relationship has been established, bring it into the confines of a Slack channel where you can communicate many times daily and use GIFs/emoticons to express what words cannot. Do remember that what you post in Slack is never really private but then again, neither is your work marriage. It’s a public celebration of two people who found themselves in the same office and hate many of the same things.
6. Never take your work spouse for granted
Jobs suck so make sure you appreciate your work spouse. As a source of joy, your work spouse can make the workplace bearable when you hate everyone in the office. Knowing there’s someone to save you a piece of cake after another painful coworker birthday party is what a work spouse does best. Providing a smile and a bit of humanity in an otherwise soul-sucking environment is just icing on that 4-day old break room cake.
7. Realize it may not last
Sadly, 50% of work marriages end in divorce. Divorce is an unfortunate reality but they don’t have to ruin the office environment. Let your work spouse move on and do your best to split any shared projects in an amicable way – your projects should not have to suffer because your marriage didn’t work out. Give your former work spouse space and try not to stalk them at company activities. If things get really uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to make an awkward joke and then immediately start looking for another job.
To sum up, work spouses are cheaper than therapy and more fun than unemployment. Treat them right and you might just find yourself looking forward to Monday. Okay, that might be a stretch.
This article first appeared on Cooper Review.
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