Monday, May 17, 2010

What Do Jim and Pam Mean for Office Romances?

Jim and Pam.  AKA PB&J.  AKA the couple we love to love on Thursday night television.  If you are not familiar with the hit sitcom, The Office, Jim and Pam are co-workers.  Jim is a sales representative and Pam was a receptionist when they became romantically involved.  In fact, when Jim became interested in Pam, and when they first kissed, Pam was actually engaged to another co-worker.  Scandulous, no?  It goes on.  Pam's former fiance, Roy, an employee of the warehouse division of the company came into the office and attempted to inflict physical harm on Jim, when he was thwarted by a fellow co-worker.

Pam and Roy called it quits for good and she ignited her relationship with Jim.  Several seasons later, and Jim and Pam are happily married with a daughter.  Pam has been promoted to sales, where she works directly with Jim.  Happy ending, right?  Of course.

However, Jim and Pam are actually an inappropriate representation of a workplace romance.  Throughout their long courtship (which begins as a close friendship), Jim and Pam both often neglect their work to spend time with each other and play pranks on co-workers.  Then, they become physically involved when Pam is already romantically committed to another co-worker.  And not only do they become involved, but they do so right in the middle of the office.  When Pam's fiance finds out about the interaction, he attempts physical harm on Jim with no retribution from human resources, management, or law enforcement.

At one point in the series, Jim receives reprimanding from higher management about his wasted productivity due to spending time with Pam, but this only addressed briefly.  Jim and Pam do report their relationship to human resources, much to the chagrin of the HR representative, who happens to be smitten with Pam himself.

Of course, The Office is a television show, and not real life, but it showcases one of the most famous fictional office romances on television.  It's wonderful that the relationship worked out and progressed to marriage and parenthood, but the professionalism in their journey could have taken a bit of work.  Anyone thinking of getting involved in an office relationship should not take notes from Jim and Pam.

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