Tech Careers: The Perils of Office Romances: Page 2

When developers get involved with developers, what happens to the code?
Posted September 17, 2012
By

Eric Spiegel


(Page 2 of 3)

Over the next few weeks, Jerry would take every chance he could to work with and hang around Suzanne. He would offer to review her code and give her ideas. She would gush with thanks.

She not only didn’t seem to mind this attention, she ate it up.

We all went out to a Friday happy hour and the two of them got tipsy. It turned out her apartment was only a few blocks from Jerry’s, so they both shared a taxi.

As he was getting in, I said “Be careful man.” He was oblivious to my concern as he practically danced into the cab’s back seat.

I tried contacting Jerry over the weekend, but never heard back. On Monday morning, he was already in the office when I walked in.

“Where were you all weekend?” I asked. Jerry leaned back in his chair and said, “I’m in love.”

Oh boy. This was happening fast.

He went on to say how they ended up spending the whole weekend together, ordering in take-out and playing video games.

“And she is really good! She kicked my butt – which only made me like her more. And get this: she is a huge fan of Woz and isn’t impressed with Jobs – just like me!”

Of course he was referring to Steve Wozniak, the engineering wizard behind Steve Job’s initial success at Apple.

“Okay, great. She is a Woz fan. But don’t go overboard – you hardly know her.”

This was true, but Jerry was head over heels for Suzanne, which was painfully obvious over the next few days. The public displays of affection were over the top.

You know how in high school the teachers would break up kids kissing in the halls? Well, there were no teachers to do the job, so I’d walk past them being all affectionate in the break room and say “get a room” – only half-jokingly.

Jerry’s work started to slip. It was like he was rushing, making stupid mistakes in his code. I figured out why he was rushing. Whenever Suzanne would call in sick (which was a lot), I’d find Jerry doing her work for her, and would call him on it.

“Get off my back! I’m only helping her out while she’s sick.”

I’m still not sure if she was ever really sick, but I was sick of seeing Jerry be manipulated. And he was becoming snippy with me, which wasn’t like him at all.

Worse, I noticed when Jerry wasn’t around she would flirt with other guys in the office – including me. I did my best to avoid her.

The avoidance strategy failed one day when Jerry was away at a conference. I was working late and felt a presence behind me (or maybe I smelled perfume). I glanced over my shoulder and there was Suzanne standing in the doorway.

She sat in Jerry’s chair as I typed away. I was annoyed to be bothered because we had a code drop due in the morning.

“What can I do for you?” I said, still looking at my screen. Maybe I didn’t want to look at her because I knew she had that disarming charm I first experienced at the lunch.

“I hear you are a big Steve Jobs fan. Me too.”

Wow. The love for Woz was short-lived. I was about to protest, when she continued.

“Don’t you like me?”

I stopped typing and looked at her. She had deep blue eyes - bluer than you’d expect from a brunette.

“What makes you say that?” I said, already knowing the answer.

Without responding, she pulled the chair closer to me and put her hands on my chair’s armrests.

“Well, I liked you from the first day, but you never pay any attention to me.”

My heart was racing for many reasons. I managed to stammer, “I am, I mean, you are Jerry’s girlfriend.”

She moved even closer and for some reason I was paralyzed with fear, or maybe something else.

“Come on, we are just having fun.” Then she leaned in and kissed me.

Before I could even react, there was a knock at the door. Chuck walked in and started to ask me a question – then he saw what was happening.


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