Married to the job: Work spouses

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Our survey team here at CareerBuilder released the results of a survey today. That survey was all about the workplace phenomenon known as “work spouses.”

If you’re not familiar with the term, it generally refers to a co-worker that you are close to and comfortable to. The relationship is platonic, but often your work spouse plays a similar role to the “real time” spouse.

How? Well, that might mean they provide assistance and support in a work-related capacity. It might also mean that they remembered to get you an extra-large mocha latte with the 72 specifications that you usually order it with – all without asking.

Here’s what our survey revealed about this trend:

  • 11 percent of workers surveyed said they had a work spouse.
  • Of those who indicated they had “work spouses” and a real spouse at home, 20 percent indicated the spouse at home was jealous of the office spouse.
  • And 17 percent made a shocking admission: They made a compromise at work to protect their office spouse.

And who did our survey list as the top 10 well-known TV “work spouses”?

1.  Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa

2.  David Letterman and Paul Shaffer

3.  Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks

4.  Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer

5.  Howard Stern and Robin Quivers

6.   Judge Judy and Petri Byrd

7.   Conan O’Brien and Max Weinberg

8.   The ladies of “The View”

9.   Diane Sawyer and Chris Cuomo

10.  Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo Diaz

An interesting cross-section of current TV work spouses, to be sure. (Though personally, I’m a bit partial to Mary Richards and Murray Slaughter of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Very old school, I know!)

You can check out the complete survey here. And if you have a favorite work spouse couple not listed here, let us know!

2 Comments
  1. I dated a British exec who took 4 work wives on at once..He justifies the relationships by saying he got on much better with women than with men-despite being in a predominantly male profession..He couldn’t decide if he was community property or not..He liked the attention and conflict created by the 4 work wives alone, because it was all about him..Naturally, being the low woman on the totem pole, I had no rights to opinions or demands..He was certainly of the school of thought that was I was sexually off limits to all but him: work, personally or otherwise..Double standard? Ya think?..B.S. I think!..
    I had to lay down the law..After 11 months of conflict over the subject: I told him to poo or get off the pot..stay intimate with the work herum and enjoy the futile, frustrating & sexless life (all were married) OR keep them on a shelf at work and do so without cutting into my time..I told him he needed to introduce me (all lived out of state) and they needed to meet me to know that I existed..I wanted them to watch me mark my territory in person and then to get into an alpha contest with each one of them..It wasn’t until I was seriously ready to dump him he realized I wasn’t kidding..I would have won that contest without spilling a drop thanks to his cowardice..Clearly, he’d gotten away with this behavior most of his adult life..Believe me, it was less than fabulous when these women were incomunicado with him after hours, on weekends, in the middle of the night, especially when he ignored me to go flirt with them in another room of the house: by phone, text, email and occasionally in person during corporate social gatherings (to which I’ve never been invited)..After 11 months, the ultimatum ensued: if you’re not going to introduce me to the work harem (he’s their boss-can you say conflict of interest?) then I am history..I sure wasn’t playing second fiddle to vaginal ghosts-it was either them or me..
    Point of interest: After doing a bit of research I discovered a little 411: work spouses, sexual mistresses, the other man, even intimate naughty internet friends can be sued for ‘alienation of affection’..Finding evidence is simple, easy and cheap with a good P.I. AND is admissible in court..Seven states still have the ‘alienation of affection’ law on the books and it has cost some high profile wealthy people..If the law isn’t on the books in any one or more of the other 43 states there are other ways to sue those who stand in the way of marriage/committed relationships..

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