Fast food: The most romantic of industries

Brian Brown, ReporterThank God I’m married.

When it comes to a marketing holiday such as Valentine’s Day, I know I don’t have to worry about who might be the object of my affection. And frankly, my partner and I have been together long enough now that we aren’t overly concerned about impressing each other at this point. She gets something she likes (hopefully); I get something I like, and we can call it a day.

My sweet wife and I have been an item for 19 years, and I can’t imagine having a better life partner. We were married nearly 17 years ago now, and like a good investment, the relationship is paying more in dividends than I could have ever counted on.

When we met, she was my shift leader at Hardee’s. I know the land of Frisco burgers and roast-beef sandwiches doesn’t sound very romantic, but that’s where our relationship took root. Working together led to small talk, then flirting, then kids and a mortgage. The jobs didn’t last, but the relationship did. To this day, I am still proud that I caught my boss’ eye.

As it turns out, I’m not alone.

A recent CareerBuilder survey reported that nearly one quarter – 24 percent – of employees who have dated a co-worker said their office sweetheart was higher up in the organization, including the boss. Of the people who dated someone from the office, nearly one-third – 31 percent – ended up marrying their co-worker.

The national survey of more than 3,000 full-time private sector employees found that 38 percent of participants have dated a co-worker.

And some industries appear to be more conducive to match making. Perhaps not surprisingly, the leisure and hospitality industry leads the way in office hookups, with 57 percent of its workers having engaged in a workplace romance. Connections are also common in the utilities industry, as 51 percent of folks reported they had dated a co-worker. Information technology came in third at 46 percent, followed by transportation at 42 percent. Nearly one-third – 32 percent – of survey participants from the health care industry had dated a co-worker, and business services landed at the bottom of the romance list at 26 percent.

While my wife and I never had to hide our love, many others have. The survey found 39 percent of people had to keep their relationship with a co-worker a secret.

Office romances can be tricky, so I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend looking to a neighboring cubicle to find a partner. Many businesses have rules in place discouraging dating – and with good reason. Dating a boss – in most cases, I would think – is just asking for trouble.

Luckily, I knew how to assemble a good sandwich.

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