Your OTHER Significant Other


Ah, Valentine’s Day… a day to show your appreciation for those you care about. Offices everywhere will be awash with flowers and balloons and candy and bobbleheads before we all head out to be with loved ones.

Odds are that since it’s a Tuesday, though, you’ll be spending more time with your cubemate than your significant other today.  You know the one.  That person you can vent to. The one you confide in about that tough manager or ask what you should get your wife for her birthday. You compare budgets and deadlines . You know what he’ll order for lunch. You invite each other to your kids’ birthday parties. You have impromptu pantomimes of cheesy videos at your desk together. It just so happens that this person is the opposite sex. If all of this sounds familiar, you might have yourself a work spouse.

So what exactly is a work spouse? Loosely defined, it’s a co-worker, usually of the opposite sex, with whom you have a close platonic relationship. This friend is someone you can relate to- this person “gets” you because he’s right there living in your world every day, and what makes this relationship unique is that it’s someone you can talk with more openly than other colleagues.

For me, my work spouse was someone with whom I literally shared a cube, then an office. I saw him more than I did any of my family members or other friends. We traveled for work together, we went to company and networking events together, and as a result we became close friends. Even though we no longer work together, we still talk often and I still ask him for advice, both personally and professionally. And I still can’t hear Toto’s Africa on the radio without breaking out jazz hands.

So what about you? Do you have a work spouse? Why or why not?

Editors Note: Candace Nicolls is the Principal Recruiter for Product, Engineering, and Marketing at Snagajob. When she’s not sourcing and interviewing, she’s baking for her coworkers or spreading the word about Snag through networking and community partnerships. Snagajob was awarded Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Small Company to Work for in America in 2011.

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About Marisa

Marisa Keegan is a leadership coach, trainer, and HR consultant for quickly growing organizations who are passionate about strengthening their employees, their brand, and their culture. She has helped lead the HR, culture, and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. She is an author at Fistful of Talent and Culture Fanatics. Marisa has her Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology and currently lives with her husband and twin boys in Richmond, Virginia.
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