We all have one. And if we don’t have one, we crave one. It’s that special person at work that just “gets you.” The one that you dish all your complaints to and share all your accomplishments with.
I’m talking about your work spouse, and it’s one of the most meaningful relationships you’ll ever have in your life.
Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely not condoning cheating on your actual spouse. The term
“work spouse” refers to a person in your workplace with whom you share a powerful but platonic bond with. You’ll find that the two of you share values, have compatible personalities, and have a ton of interests in common. The bond isn’t confined to male/female relationships, either!
At its core, the work spouse relationship is rather ideal. Think about it: You get all the perks of a relationship (talking, joking around, seeing each other all the time) without the hassle of the maintenance aspects (divvying up chores, choosing where to eat, dealing with each other’s in-laws, etc.).
Regardless of your profession, you’ll find that having a work spouse can lead to success within the workplace. Let’s break down why this relationship can benefit lawyers specifically:
They Help Fight Depression
An eye-opening article published by the ABA states that lawyers are nearly four times more likely to suffer depression than the average person. The conflict-driven nature of the profession, intense deadlines, and long work hours take a heavy toll.
A 2015 study on work spouses found that this particular relationship helps people deal with and manage work/life and identity issues. Since your relationship is almost exclusively founded on trust and support, your work spouse often serves as an outlet to vent and offload. Your work spouse is the person who supports you when things get down. Simply having someone in your life who understands your plights may be enough to keep you going on those days when you feel like giving up.
They Make You More Productive
The same 2015 study found that the work spouse serves to motivate their “other half” in the workplace. While there is no lack of competition between lawyers nowadays, it’s always a plus to have someone in your corner who pushes you to the next level and challenges you to do better at work.
Because of the intimate trust aspect of many work spouse relationships, it’s not unheard of for these relationships to mirror that of a mentor. As humans we seem to be hard-wired to take constructive criticism personally, but when the same criticism is coming from a trusted and supportive source it may seem easier to swallow.
They Can Enhance Your Relationship with Your Real Spouse
When I get home at the end of a long day’s work, the last thing I want to hear is my husband vent about his work day (I love you, but…sorry). I don’t know the people he works with, and we don’t have similar occupations. The same goes for him. He could care less about my office gossip. Sometimes work banter at home can place unwanted stress on a real relationship.
A work spouse allows you to leave the office at the office (where it should stay). I’m not saying you shouldn’t share positive work experiences with your real-life spouse (e.g. accomplishments, promotions, etc.), but leave the drama where it belongs. This leave you free to discuss more important things with your real-life spouse and foster a more stress-free relationship.