Work Wife Rules

Cosmopolitan Middle East - - CONTENTS - BY ALLIE JONES

On-the-job hap­pi­ness sorted!

Afe­male on-the­job ride-or-die – a peer to grab lunch with, go to for ad­vice, and rely on when you’re swamped— can make your 9-to-5 a whole lot hap­pier. She can also help you ace your job (and vice versa), says Chad McBride, PhD, a com­mu­ni­ca­tion stud­ies pro­fes­sor at Creighton Univer­sity who re­searches work spouse–type bonds. “You be­come more in­vested in your com­pany be­cause you’re in­vested in this re­la­tion­ship.”

In other words, you’re psyched to go to your gig be­cause it means be­ing with a pal. “And when you en­joy go­ing to work and are less stressed, you end up do­ing bet­ter work,” says Lau­ren McGood­win, founder and CEO of fe­male ca­reer-de­vel­op­ment site Ca­reer Contessa. “This could then turn into your boss recog­nis­ing your en­thu­si­asm and giv­ing you more cool op­por­tu­ni­ties.” (A promo could be around the cor­ner, thanks in part to your pro­fesh friend!)

To get your­self a work wife, find a gal around your same level and with whom you’ve had ca­sual, pleas­ant con­vos. Feel out her po­ten­tial by ask­ing for small favours that ben­e­fit you both: “Want to brain­storm over lunch be­fore to­mor­row’s pre­sen­ta­tion?” If all goes well, try ask­ing for a big­ger solid, like cov­er­ing your shift (and, duh, of­fer to do the same for her). Then fol­low th­ese tips to nur­ture that dy­namic and rock the work-wife life.

PIC­TURE THIS: You’re late to a meet­ing, and your boss lays into you in front of the en­tire team. You look around for help, but no one’s got your back. You sink into a chair, feel­ing to­tally alone and to­tally screwed. If only some­one had con­firmed your (le­git) ex­cuse or at least thrown you a sym­pa­thetic smile… if only you had a work wife.


Just be­cause you have “your per­son” at work doesn’t mean you two should be cliquey and avoid ev­ery­one else. If you know dif­fer­ent peo­ple at the com­pany or are on sep­a­rate teams, flex your con­nec­tions and make in­tro­duc­tions so both of your net­work­ing cir­cles grow, says McGood­win. You can use this script: “I’d love you to meet [WW’s name]. She is fan­tas­tic to work with and can help you with your cur­rent project.”

Not only will you get ma­jor cred if your girl kills it on the job, but you can make her look good too. The more peo­ple you meet within your in­dus­try, the more likely both of you are to get great new op­por­tu­ni­ties.


When your boss is frus­trat­ing as hell and you want to talk it out with your work wife, call on her to go chat out­side the of­fice, says Sherry Sims, founder and CEO of the Black Ca­reer Women’s Net­work. Or if you no­tice she is on the verge of a freak-out, take her to a far­away bath­room or down the street so she can let it out. If you’re in an open work space, you can use the line “Want to go for cof­fee?” Or if you want to be all 007 about it, come up with some code words or phrases that you can say to each other when the prover­bial stuff hits the fan. Maybe that means tex­ting her four ex­plod­ing-head emoji dur­ing your shift so you’ll both know there’s ma­jor drama to dis­cuss. Vent­ing about your job with some­one you work with can ac­tu­ally al­low you to go home and not dwell on the prob­lem. That means you’re less likely to spend pre­cious free mo­ments with your S.O or fam­ily moan­ing about work, says McBride.


Make a deal with your WW: If one of you has a killer plan and presents it in an all-staff hud­dle, the other will re­peat it and give props, so the rest of the team ac­knowl­edges your idea, says McGood­win. So if you pitch an itin­er­ary for an up­com­ing event, your work wife can say, “Great call! That would go so well.” (NBD, but some of the women who worked in Pres­i­dent Obama’s White House re­port­edly em­ployed this strat­egy, call­ing it am­pli­fi­ca­tion.)


Even though you’re on your work wife’s side, you don’t want to risk your own job by, say, mak­ing up bo­gus ex­cuses if she’s play­ing hooky one day. If she does have an ac­tual is­sue (like hav­ing to fill a painful cav­ity or pick up her lit­tle sis­ter from soft­ball prac­tice), of­fer to cover for her un­til she gets back and “be an­other set of eyes see­ing what’s go­ing on,” says McBride. Whether that means tak­ing notes at meet­ings or send­ing her an emer­gency up­date, you’ll be able to fill her in on every­thing later. (And she’ll do the same for you next time.)


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