I was watching Craig Ferguson the other night (air date unknown, it was on my DVR) and he was talking with Kristin Bell. Who is absolutely 100% freaking adorable. She should stop acting, because all of her roles are far less enjoyable as her own personality in real life. I just want to squeeze her. But that’s not why we’re here.
Anyway, she mentioned her “work spouse,” the person at work you talk to and share things with. Go to lunch with, etc, etc. Someone who fills in for your spouse at work, in a non-romantic manner.
I barely paid attention to what she was saying about a work spouse because I was still dwelling on her adorableness. But the next day at work, I walked out of my office, turned one way, stopped, turned another, wondered why I had gotten up in the first place, realized I had no where to go, and returned to my office. Basically, I just needed a break from what I was working on. That would have been a moment where I chatted with my work spouse, if I had one. And then it dawned on me that I do not have one.
At my previous jobs, I had plenty. Often two or more at a time. I had a best friend at one location who would fit the bill because she and I worked together. But she wasn’t even my work spouse. My work spouse was Dawn, who had a tiny little office I’d run to when stupid things transpired and we would vent. Or vice versa. Later she became my “boss,” at which time I utilized the best friend – who actually moved into Dawn’s old office.
Then when I moved on, I had another pair. Although I dated one of them, which removed her from work spouse status. Then both of those found other jobs, and I still had another friend to fit the bill, and then I landed CLM.
CLM was basically the textbook work spouse. After a few weeks, we just understood each other on a level that transcended verbal communication. This was greatly accomplished by the fact that we shared an office. I made her coffee, she gave me fashion advice. It was like the Jim-Pam relationship in The Office without the mutual, yet ill-timed crushes (oh, and we’re not fictional).
We didn’t start finishing each other’s sentences, but it was close. There was at least “jump-in” explanations of each others’ viewpoints we knew so well. Someone (often Tammy, who didn’t technically work with us, but spent a lot of time working out of our office) would question a statement by one of us, only to see the other step in and answer.
Examples would include:
“KevFu doesn’t watch reality TV because there’s people that he KNOWS who’s lives he doesn’t follow along with closely enough, so he can’t add strangers before he’s caught up with actual friends. He does watch some shows solely as an excuse to call some of his friends once a week because they also watch the show.”
“CLM doesn’t like it when other people see her sweat.”
“KevFu has a rule against dating people who work at jewelry stores, and it actually makes a lot of sense.”
“CLM does not believe that cleaning products and food products should ever be placed in the same bag.”
We reached the point where we would start a conversation preemptively so the other didn’t feel bad for interrupting or venting. Such as: “What? What are you mad about?” or “Just say it.”
By the time CLM moved on, Tammy had reached that point where she knew my insanity well enough to take over the role.
But at my new gig… don’t really have that. My BFF in California is actually leaving soon, so while she and I are buddies, that work spouse relationship hasn’t blossomed (mainly because we knew it was temporary so we guarded our emotional investment). We try to get together once a week outside of work, but it’s more like every three. She doesn’t have an office, she works in a very busy room.
There’s not a lot of candidates to take the job here, which is disappointing. Then again, as one of my female friends pointed out “The last thing you need is yet another plutonic female friend.”