career

"I don't believe in having just one work wife, you need a whole harem of them."

I don’t believe in monogamy.

At least, not when it comes to the most important, tumultuous, co-dependent and supportive relationship you will ever find yourself in during your adult years. The one relationship you need to be in to ensure your head always stays above water.

I’m talking, of course, about the one you have with your work wife.

There’s a strange myth around work wives that alludes to the fact they should always be the person you like the most,  that one desk-mate you laugh the hardest with or the gal who’s the most fun to down tequila shots with at the first bar you stumble into after a long day at the office.

But in reality, these people are actually your work friends, or sometimes even your work flings, and I am here to tell you that a few hazy drunken nights coupled with a few shared office jokes does not a real marriage make.

A real work wife has your back at all times, even on the days when your not-so-great attitude is grinding on her very last nerve and she’s contemplating divorce. Along with a shared custody arrangement of the stationary cupboard.

You’re allowed to bicker, of course, but never actually have a full blown fight where words could be exchanged that have the power to cut into your very soul. Your relationship is too strong for that.

Your work wife is also acutely aware of your flaws, and while she does like to rib you about them, she’ll always keep them front of mind and jump in to help as needed. Mostly so you’ll stop slamming your head into your desk drawers in despair because the noise is really getting to her.

She’ll perform acts like climbing under your desk to re-plug in and sort out your epic mess of computer cords because she knows that, even though you both work in a digital first company, you are actually technology illiterate and can barely locate the “on” button in times of need.

(If any of my bosses are currently reading this, please know the above story does definitely not pertain to me. I love computers and very much know how to switch them on without assistance…).

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My work wife Valentina drove across town to retrieve my lost shoe. That's a high level work marriage.

When I became betrothed to my very first work wife, during one of my very first newspaper jobs, I was very big on exclusivity and fidelity. After all, the bonds between work wives can be so crazily intimate, that it was hard to image letting another person into the self-protective cocoon the two of us had constructed for ourselves.

However, as I moved through my career into bigger workplaces and then into higher level roles, I started to have scandalous thoughts of betrayal when it came to remaining a one woman kinda lady.

In each workplace I entered, I still found and clung to just one main spouse, but then slowly I began to see that as times grew tougher and my industry more cutthroat, it was time to expand the circle.

In short, I stopped believing in a world where you have just one work wife per work place and started believing in the power and magic of work wife harems.

For instance, there's your Domestic Bliss Work Wife. She's the one who always remembers to grab you an extra box of desk tissues when she sees that yours are running low and always makes sure to save you a piece of cake during those tragic moments when're stuck in a meeting and can't make it to the office birthday celebrations.

Listen: Elizabeth Gilbert has some brilliant career advice for anyone struggling with what they want to do with their life. Post continues... 

Then there's your Arranged Marriage Work Wife, basically the other "you" in the company.

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Her responsibilities mirror your own and you're often thrown together to oversee projects and tackle problems. (Quick note: This person also has the power to become your Work Nemesis, if you get off on the wrong foot with them. It's much better to put a ring on it straight away and lock that sh*t down.)

There's also your Trophy Work Wife, the lady you want on your arm at all those corporate and after hours functions you must attend in order to keep your job. She's an absolute pro at helping you work the room and is perfectly happy to lurk around the venue's kitchen doors, biding her time until the waiters emerge so she can snag the good champagne.

She'll also give you a steady arm to cling to during the perilous journey to your waiting Uber and not judge you for casting off your heels in order to keep yourself upright.

Stuck on an island with a member of my work wife harem, Lize. Image: Supplied.

In a slightly different yet no less important capacity is your Long Distance Work Wife.

She's the lady you were wedded to at a past job and even though career aspirations and interstate moves have pulled you apart, you still consider yourselves legally bound and have each others backs 'til death do you part.

She's the person you spend hours on the phone with when your new job is getting you down, the person you share so many in-jokes with that you've basically invented your own language. She's also the best person to give you some tough love when you need it, because she knew you when you started at the bottom and is here to remind you how far you've come.

Of course, the leading lady in your life will always be your Main Work Wife. She's the leader of your harem and a mixture of the best bits of all the other spouses rolled into one. She of course has the power to pull rank, she also knows that you're actually a whole lot of work, often a liability, and she's happy to share the load.

At the end of the day, a work wife harem is the only way to enrich and survive your professional life.

Maybe just make sure they don't all find out about each other...

For more stories like this, you can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.

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