This is a guest post contributed by Jasmine.
Do you think that having an office romance really works?
I mean, it can be pretty awkward if you’ve broken up and yet, still have to face each other at work.
We managed to get together a couple who work in the same work environment and ask them how it works exactly.
Have a girl in office you really like? Read this before jumping on a boat with her.
Here’s the video if you’re interested in watching the both of them talk. (Who wouldn’t?!)
By the way, they’re happily married liao so it’s legit.
Explain what each of you do and how you are involved with the union/labour movement?
Yaorong: I work in a rubber manufacturing plant where I monitor the plant’s manufacturing process.
At the same time, I am also currently the branch Chairman of my company for the Chemical Industries Employees’ Union (CIEU).
I was previously also involved in Young NTUC, Young CIEU and the executive committee of CIEU.
Madeleine: I’ve been working for the Labour Movement for the past 6 years.
Starting my career as a temp staff, I went on to join as a full-time staff in Young NTUC, the youth wing of the Labour Movement.
Young NTUC gives a voice to young workers. We also organise many interest-based programmes as well as mentorship and career discovery sessions to help young workers get better direction for their careers.
Is there any conflict working together? If so, how do you resolve them?
Yaorong: We did have some issues initially trying to balance time paktor-ing and doing union work, but we sat down and talked about our expectations.
Other than that, there are minimal conflicts as we fulfil different roles in the Labour Movement and my responsibilities are mostly towards the workers and industrial relations matters.
Madeleine: There were occasions when we had conflicts in the beginning when I felt he could step up more – was not able to attend meetings or events that Young NTUC organised.
But I also understood that he was busy with his work plus he had to handle additional union work. So we talked about it and I know that I had to let him decide how he wanted to prioritise his things.
Do you talk about work at home?
Yaorong: If there are major events happening at work, of course, we will talk about it.
Otherwise, she will be the one talking more about her work and I do my best to be her listening ear as she ‘rants’.
Madeleine: Hahaha ya, most of the time I will be the one telling Yaorong about the programmes that Young NTUC organises.
Sometimes asking him to join me in those programmes too. Other times, he will be telling me about the cases that happened in his company and how he settled the cases.
Do colleagues often tease you about being a “union couple”?
Yaorong: Not anymore, but certainly when we first started people teased us all the time. My CIEU union guys would say, “I ask you to represent us at Young NTUC, you go there and find a wife”.
Madeleine: My colleagues and youth activists would also tease me about joining the Labour Movement and leaving with ‘returns’.
When you were dating, have there been times where work interfered with your dates? How did you feel?
Yaorong: We have been dating since September 2014, not long after I entered young NTUC.
Sometimes there will be periods where we are both caught up with so much work/union work that we are unable to meet for days.
When that happens, I will try to squeeze some time out of my sleeping hours between night shifts to meet her for lunch.
Other times we will go for union events together so we will still see each other, albeit we won’t be able to talk much since she is the organiser most of the time.
Madeleine: When we were preparing for our wedding, there was once we were supposed to meet the hotel manager at noon time. But Yaorong had to settle his colleague’s unfair dismissal case at the MOM.
I had to call the hotel manager twice to postpone the meeting to a later timing. I waited for him for about 3 hours before we could finally meet the hotel manager.
Of course, I wasn’t the happiest having to wait! But I understood the meaningful union work that Yaorong was doing to help his colleague.
Do you feel the need to keep the relationship a secret in the beginning?
Yaorong: Not at all, a secret relationship is hard to keep and will cause a lot of misunderstandings. The earlier you get it out in the open, the faster the teasing and jokes will stop.
Madeleine: Yaorong was very open about it and I thought it was good also. At least I felt that he is serious about our relationship.
What do your bosses say about the relationship?
Yaorong: They don’t say anything, but secretly I think they encourage it because it’s another angle to attract more youths to join our union activities because the matchmaking element is there!
Madeleine: My bosses didn’t say much but they will remind me that I should know how to differentiate between work and personal. They are quite supportive about it and said will give us a bigger angbao during our wedding. Haha!
What’s a workday like for you?
Yaorong: My day job requires me to monitor the plant’s manufacturing process and checking the equipment to ensure all is smooth.
My role as the Branch Chairman of CIEU means I represent the workers in my company, so I also spend time talking to our union members to understand their challenges.
The union work also means communicating with our HR manager to either resolve Industrial Relation issues, raise workers’ concerns or just get updates on the company’s plans. Once off work, I usually meet Madeleine for dinner.
Madeleine: These days, I’m busy running around for events, going for meetings and clearing emails. I’m involved in the upcoming Career Discovery & Mentorship Programme where young workers get to meet mentors from various industry backgrounds to get career insights.
But at the end of the day, we will meet each other for dinner almost every day (except when Yaorong works night shift).
How do understanding each other’s job scopes and involvement in union work help bring you two closer?
Yaorong: There have been times understanding her job scope is not enough, I go further than that and see what I can do to ease her workload. If she requires support or numbers for an event, I will try my best to be there.
Madeleine: Oh no, now to think of it actually I think I haven’t been helping Yaorong a lot in his union work. The only thing I did was to give him his own time and space to do his union work.
Oh! And some resources from the Labour Movement’s side if he needs. Other than that, most of the time he is always very sweet to be there for me physically and mentally for my work.
Lastly, what are three tips you have for other office couples?
- Be open about the relationship and don’t try to hide it
- At the same time, always be professional at work
- Lastly, give each other “bitching time” of 5 mins each day and move on
- Be conscious not to talk about work at home
- Set your priorities. Misplacing your priorities may cause trouble at work and relationship.
- Laugh and be happy together!
So now, do you feel ready for an office hookup?
Just make sure you’re prepared to face your wife 24/7, both in the office and at home.
This article was first published on goodyfeed.com