A fine office romance
Office romance can work out says Helena Frith Powell
I sympathised with Philip Taylor and Kate Walsch. Falling in love at work is one of the best things about having a job. It makes the whole nine to five thing so much more exciting.
You spend hours planning what you’re going to wear the night before. You wonder if “he” will ever notice you and maybe ask you out to lunch. Emails from him are like small electric shocks, even if they are only about the state of the stock room or the latest accounts.
But I just didn’t understand why falling in love on the set of The Apprentice made ‘Romeo & Juliet’ so bad at their jobs. Because in my experience, it should have the opposite effect.
I met my husband at work. I cannot pretend that I was the most motivated of employees up until the day he joined. This is hardly surprising. I was working for a magazine called Trade and Project Finance.
One day “he” arrived. Suddenly the office seemed so much more interesting. I even started getting in on time.
“Couldn’t sleep?” asked the MD’s secretary when she walked past my desk at 9am one morning.
We started having lunch and going out for drinks together. We talked about work. Incredibly even the world of trade and project finance seemed interesting when he was talking about it.
So as a result of falling in love at work I became more diligent and more knowledgeable and therefore better at my job. The last thing I wanted to do was get fired and risk not seeing him every day.
According to statistics 70% of us have had an office romance. They do not relate how many of those end up in a marriage but I’m betting it’s at least half.
Romance at work can, well, work. Just look at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. And me. We have three lovely children and have just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Not bad for an office romance….
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi-based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor-in-chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group.
Helena contributes regularly to UK-based newspapers and magazines and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. She is working on a thriller set in Sweden as well as a novel about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield called Sense of an Echo.
In 2022 her short story The Japanese Gardener came second in the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize. One of her stories was also shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize. When she’s not writing, she works as a headhunter for the media and entertainment industry for the Sucherman Group.
Helena, who was educated at Durham University, lives in the Languedoc region of France with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019