As Featured on News Cult: Should You Date Your Co-Worker? Let’s Discuss

Oh boy. This one’s a doozy. Your work is supposed to be a huge part of your life. Especially if you’re on the ‘career’ path–i.e. your job is what you “love doing” and “fulfills” you and “makes you happy”– you “look forward” to going to it every day, and all that bull crap. But regardless of  whether you actually like your job or not, you spend a lot of time there, with your co-workers. And we all know that as post-college adults, it’s hard to meet people, so work is also a huge source of new relationships. All of this adds up to: it seems kind of obvious that you might date your co-worker(s). But there’s a lot of controversy surrounding that topic. And we wouldn’t be us if we didn’t know what to think about it, so we’re going to talk it out. And probably come to no conclusion, but it’s the thought that counts, right? (Except when it comes to gifts–don’t get us some POS present and expect us to be grateful because you ‘tried’–you know what doesn’t get you success? Trying. Success gets you success. SOH [shaking OUR heads]).

Let’s keep the ball rolling on why you should, or at least don’t have to not, date your co-worker. Again, it’s hard out there to meet people. The world is cruel, and full of idiots, so you’re lucky if you find anyone you’re remotely compatible with. Thusly, if one of your co-workers meets really any of your standards, hop on that train and roll with it. Don’t let the anxiety about professionalism stand in your way. Heck, we’ve never let that inhibit us before, so why start now? Gina in Accounting finds your lame sense of humor amusing, despite all rationale and logical thought-processing? Don’t let her go. Ralph in Sales has a skillful tongue? That’s a keeper! Esmeralda in Facilities isn’t horribly offended by your sickly body? You should already be on a Greyhound home to introduce her to your parents–why are you not?

On the other hand: if things go badly, work will be horribly awkward. Yes, we are the kings and queens of awkward, but even we may not be able to traverse the tricky landscape of the post-breakup/you found out Dan was also banging Julie in Marketing workplace. I mean, we already dread coming into the office, and having to see our co-workers on a daily basis. If we had it our way, we would never interact with another human being ever, let alone for the majority of the minutes and hours and days that comprise our sort-but-not-short-enough lifetimes. So do we really need to complicate that social anxiety by sleeping with or dating (whatever that means) a colleague, which will inevitably sour, as all human relationships do?

And then there’s the issue of HR policy to consider. Yes, again, we don’t care about rules and never follow them, because they can go fuck themselves. BUT, if we want to remain employed, which we only really do so we can keep making money, because apparently you need money to survive, which we have a hard enough time doing as is, maybe we should heed our workplace rules. Some offices are the wild west and don’t have any HR rules, while others have strict rules against against intra-office dating. If your HR department prohibits dating your co-worker, I would suggest paying attention to that. Unless you’re an expert rule-breaker, and can do so without getting caught–then, by all means, God bless. But just be willing to suffer the consequences should your most likely inept but sometimes surprisingly savvy HR reps find out. If it helps, remember this–maybe even get it printed on an elastic bracelet: WWMSD (What Would My Stomach Do? The answer is always: EAT. And we can’t eat if we don’t have money to buy food. And we won’t have money to buy food if we get fired for being caught violating office protocol by dating a co-worker who let’s be honest isn’t remotely worth it anyways).

If your HR doesn’t GAF if you date your colleagues, then, I  remind you: when it goes bad, and it will go bad, you’re going to have to face your ex-boyfriend, -girlfriend, -lover, -drunken late night sex partner, -whatever, nearly every day of your already sad, pathetic life. And guess what? They’re going to air your dirty laundry to all your other co-workers. They’ll tell the entire IT department about how you like one thumb in the butt–just one. They’re going to reveal that you have sleep apnea so you snore, and towards the end, they wouldn’t wake you, in hopes that it would just kill you. They’re going to tell everyone that your HBO Go password is “iluvunicorns123,” and that your parents kind of hate you. So it’s not just a walk of shame past them you’re going to have to embark on every weekday morning to get to your cubicle, and then every time you get up to use the restroom, which is frequent, plus every time you go to the kitchen for a snack, which is every 7 minutes at least, but it’s going to be a marathon of shame past each and every person in your office.

So I think we have our answer: date your co-worker at your own risk. Proceed with caution. And, most importantly, when it all explodes in a hot mess of betrayal, broken trust, hatred, and fury, and you’re left trying to find a new job which will never be able to match the benefits you were receiving under your old employer’s grandfathered health insurance plan and you really need those because let’s just say your therapy isn’t exactly inexpensive, and which probably won’t even give you your own office now that ‘open’ work environments are all the rage and then all your co-workers will be able to overhear your strained conversations with your mother over your lunch break, and which almost assuredly won’t even have a Keurig because they actually give a shit about material waste and the environment, those goddamn tree-hugging hippie motherfuckers, I will be there absolutely 100% without a doubt never been so sure of anything in my life to say I told you so.

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As Featured on News Cult: How to Ask for a Raise

TBH, you’re most likely overqualified and underpaid for your job. You’re probably in 5x as much student loan debt as you’re going to make in the next 5 years, yet you probably used those student loans to graduate summa cum laude from one of the country’s top private liberal arts colleges. Congratulations–your education got you approximately nowhere. But it’s too late to turn back now, so, instead, let’s focus on getting you up to the salary you deserve.

I don’t think there is any definitive timeline for when to ask for a raise–it depends on the job. But I absolutely think it’s reasonable to request one after you have put in sufficient time and effort (use your discretion to determine what that means for you–don’t be an asshole, but don’t be a doormat either). And, guess what? Most likely, unless you actually have a good boss which is practically unheard of, you’re going to have to ask for a raise, even if it’s obvious you deserve one. Because employers don’t want to pay you more–it’s in their interest not to.

But too bad for those fuckers, because they apparently don’t know who they’re dealing with. Who is that, you ask? US–we are Spartans. We are gladiators. We are champion eaters. We don’t back down when McDonald’s tells us we’re too old for a Happy Meal toy. And we’re not going to cower in fear of asking for a raise. Here are some methods I suggest you use to go about getting your desired result: mo’ money (but less problems–we really don’t need anymore problems at this point–like, we’re already the band geeks with bad acne who couldn’t get dates to prom so had to take our cousins–please don’t add headgear to that).

OWN the room

Walk into your boss’ office, preferably at a time when he or she (most likely he if we’re being honest–sexism in the workplace is REAL) is not expecting you, and slam your fist on their desk whilst declaring your value (priceless, a la MasterCard). I find it helpful to pretend you’re Oprah.

Make a list of your accomplishments

I mean it’s obvious to us why you’re an invaluable, shimmering bird of paradise, but just spell it out clearly so there’s no mistaking it–list the ways you have contributed and gone above and beyond, and either present it to your boss formally, or have it in your head so you can make your case in conversation. But don’t be boring about it–don’t just ramble things off. Make it a meaningful, dynamic presentation (so NO PowerPoints. If you use a PowerPoint, I will personally hunt you down and give you a strongly worded lecture).

Smile while you’re talking

I know this is foreign to us, but this way, you’ll come off as pleasant, confident and steady on the outside even though you hate everyone and everything and are dying of nerves on the inside.

Express your desire to grow at the company

Even if it’s total bullshit–you’re not going to get a raise if you are honest and say, “Hey, I kind of hate this fucking job and your stupid face, but can I have more money?” Throw in lots of flowery language about how you see the “growth potential” as an “exciting opportunity” and would love to keep “learning” from your colleagues, and “verticals” and “assets” and “collaboration” and “strategy” and “integration” and “brand optimization” and “diversifying” and “landscape.”

Choose your timing carefully

Request your raise at a time when your boss needs your support more than ever. I.e. during the few days after his wife has had their first baby, or when she finds out her husband has been having an affair, or when he’s preparing a very important presentation for his boss. Think of this less as taking advantage of them/the situation, and more as strategic genius.

Fake it til you make it

Listen, we’re not fooling anyone, least of all ourselves–we are self-doubting, anxious, painfully awkward trainwrecks. So we’re going to have to pretend our lives aren’t our lives to accomplish this one. Time to put that Girl Scout Theater Patch-qualifying acting class you took when you were 10 to use and act like you are sure of yourself and know your worth. So make like you’re in bed with the last guy you dated, and fake it.

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Conversations with My Boss

Me to myself/at my computer: “NOOOOOOOOOO. [brief pause] NOOOOOOOOOOO.”

Boss: “What?”

Me: “I just hate everything.”

Boss: [raises eyebrows]

Me: “I have to go to this party I don’t want to go to with this person I don’t want to go with, and now the person is asking if I want to have drinks before the party too, and I just. don’t. want. to do any of it.”

Boss: [just stands there]

Me: “You don’t care.”

Boss: “No, it’s just that it seems like everything you’re complaining about is within your control.” [Walks away]