In all likelihood, you spend more time at work than you spend anywhere else, with the exception of your own bedroom. So, really, it's only natural that the two locations intersect as often as they do. From longing gazes across cubicles to furtive make-out sessions in dairy coolers, workplace romance is rampant to the point of inevitability. Sometimes, under a select set of circumstances, it's not even a horrible, career-demolishingly tragic mistake.
Maybe your office romance will mark the beginning of a lifetime in which you alternate bliss and contentment. Perhaps it'll lead to a ruinous, humiliating spectacle in which vicious rumors give way to depositions, divorce and desktop knickknacks being stuffed hastily into boxes and hauled out by security. Either way, you'll need a soundtrack — five songs to guide you through your exciting and unpredictable new life.
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Songs For Ill-Advised Office Romances
Step into My Office, Baby
Step into My Office, Baby
from Dear Catastrophe Waitress
by Belle & Sebastian
Even the most dunderheadedly catastrophic romantic pursuit should have its moments of good cheer. So before the consequences kick in, ramp up the sexual tension with Belle & Sebastian and the appropriately titled "Step Into My Office, Baby." (And, yes, a Google search confirms that this is the first use of the phrase "ramp up the sexual tension with Belle & Sebastian" in the whole history of the Internet.) As Stuart Murdoch takes "marching orders" from a demanding boss, the song itself exudes chugging jauntiness and punning double-entendre: "I've been pushing for a raise / I've been pushing now for days."
"There is no train to take you this late," Nina Nastasia sings in "There Is No Train," taking all of 12 seconds to set a vivid scene in which everything is about to change between two people who ought to know better. Nastasia captures the way would-be lovers disguise their self-serving intentions as obliviousness -- "I was aware, but I didn't say / I let the last one roll on as you talked all along" -- as Dirty Three's Jim White ratchets up the portent with his distinct brand of unsettlingly arrhythmic drum patterns. In only two and a half minutes, Nastasia makes it clear that things are about to get much better, for at least a little while, before they get much worse.
So your relentless pursuit of validation, companionship and/or boredom-alleviation has gotten you into a bit of a jam. What was once a playful diversion now has your would-be suitor taking the long way to the copier in an effort to avoid you. The Damnwells' charming "Kiss Catastrophe" is perfect background music for when you want to tell that special someone, "I know that you're starting to find me a little unnerving, but I'm still here if you're desperate enough to risk making matters even worse." As singer Alex Dezen asks, "Can I be in your way for a while?" you can just imagine your companion responding, "No, come to think of it."
Not every word in Dolorean's sweetly ambling, wonderfully winning "To Destruction" applies specifically to office romance. But the song's key line -- "On the way down to destruction / there are places where I find my rest" -- hits all of the sweet spots between innocence and ruin. Along the way, singer Al James gets at the push-and-pull at the heart of so many misguided couplings: "I have tried to run away / but I am so unhappy when I am alone." Some obviously ill-advised relationships are so utterly doomed to fail that even moments of contentment have an air of imminent collapse about them; "To Destruction" is a perfect song for when you want to revel as your live unravels.
Sure, your relationship with a coworker began as a casual dalliance -- a relationship born of proximity and executed with a sort of conspiratorial playfulness. But that doesn't mean it's sure to end well. The Avett Brothers' Seth and Scott Avett know how when to strip away the artifice, set aside the metaphor and make with the emotional carnage: "I have love for my family / I have love for my friends / That's as far as it goes, and I must let you know / My love for you was pretend." It's hard to hear that from someone you're going to have to continue seeing every day -- if you're lucky -- but, hey, at least you'll have one more reason to look forward to quitting time, right?