Suzanne, pushed me away and quickly exited, giving a swift “Hey Chuck” as she moved past him out the door.
Chuck gave me a disapproving look and proceeded to ask his question. I tried to compose myself, which was useless and told Chuck I’d get back to him. He shook his head as he left.
I said out loud to an empty office “What the hell just happened?” This was bad, bad, bad.
When Jerry returned the next day, I was doing my best not to talk to him. I was embarrassed and ticked off – at myself and at Suzanne.
Jerry seemed unconcerned with me. But after lunch, he came into the office and shut the door.
He stared daggers at me and said, “You have something to tell me?”
What was I supposed to say? Numerous possibilities crowded my mind, but I simply said, “I swear I didn’t kiss her back!”
Not the brightest move.
“You are a liar. She told me you came on to her. You are not my friend.”
With that, he stormed out of the office.
And things went downhill from there. Chuck actually moved Jerry into an office with Suzanne. Predictably, that arrangement didn’t last. One evening Jerry walked in on Suzanne and Chuck – and they weren’t writing code.
Jerry and I eventually made up and Suzanne left the company. He even joked, “I bet she told Chuck she loved Bill Gates.”
In retrospect, I don’t think any in-office romance is a great idea. The risks are larger than the rewards. And that is no lie.
Eric Spiegel has been working as a software developer and manager for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter @EricSpiegs