‘I realized I’d done something really, really dumb.’
“After another tearful argument on a street corner a few blocks from my office, I once again cursed myself for encouraging Ryan (not his real name) to apply for that open position at my company.
“Ryan is my ex-boyfriend, and our breakup was neither clean nor simple. But four months ago, those details didn’t seem important to me.
“Ryan had spent a year desperately searching for a job, and the idea of him stuck in the Midwest, living in his parents’ place and working unskilled jobs physically hurt to think about. He was too smart and too creative to have amassed such crippling student debt for nothing. So I hooked him up. I helped get him a job at a media company in the heart of Manhattan — something he had never even considered a real possibility.
“It wasn’t until he was all packed up and moving across the country that I realized I’d done something really, really dumb.
“There was (is) still a lot of baggage between us — stuff I just didn’t care to sort through. I was done, we’d broken up, I’d gotten a new job, moved to a new city, and was working really hard on figuring out who I was.
“But that’s the interesting thing: The thought that my life was about to get a hundred times messier was barely a blip on my radar, because I was helping Ryan get his ‘big break.’ This opportunity, and its potential to launch his career as a journalist, overshadowed whatever ‘lovers’ quarrel’ we were mired in. Screw emotional well-being, right? Just think of the résumé!
“I don’t want to sit and whine about how uncomfortable and awkward and upsetting it is to work with an ex (because it is).
“Now it’s been a few months since Ryan started his job. We don’t talk a lot because we realized that we’ve needed space to heal from our relationship, but now that space is only created by a silence, a wall and a hallway. Retrospectively, I know I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the open position to Ryan, and he probably shouldn’t have applied. First, because healing ourselves should have been a priority, second because working with exes is absolutely miserable, and third, because opportunities come more often than we give ourselves credit for.
“But sometimes the allure of a job trumps logic, and I wonder how many more personal sacrifices Ryan and I (and people in our positions) are going to make for the sake of an advanced career and dollar bills.” —Louisa Alter, Business Insider social-media intern
‘The only thing we had to do was keep it secret from the campers.’
“My boyfriend, A.J., and I met when we worked at the same summer camp in 2012.
“Being surrounded by 30 20-somethings in the middle of Wisconsin made it pretty easy to date without it being taboo — we were not nearly the only two to pair off that summer. The only thing we had to do was keep it secret from the campers. Occasionally it proved pretty difficult to keep the secret from middle-school-aged girls who decided I had a ‘crush’ on A.J.
“Having A.J. as a coworker those first few months played a major role in how our relationship continued after the summer. We could still have dates on weekends, but during the week we would sometimes only get to say hi to each other at meals or in the staff break room.
“Considering we haven’t lived in the same city since, being able to manage our time and live without seeing the other person all the time were useful skills. I’m grateful we learned how to be a couple while we were coworkers.” —Lydia Ramsey, Business Insider reporter