Friday, February 18, 2011

Do you have a lab spouse?

Do you have a lab spouse? From a CNN article on "work spouses":
Certified career coach Hallie Crawford says you may have a work spouse if:
  • You and a co-worker share information you would only tell a spouse, like personal details about yourself that you don't share with other colleagues. 
  • You confide in them more than anyone else at your office about work issues.
  • You spend a lot of time with them, almost as much time as you do with your spouse.
Gotta say, some of this sounds vaguely familiar. I certainly had a couple lab spouses in my day -- it's a nice way to blow off steam and have a chuckle. It's the explanation by this professor that I find well, obvious:
Work spouses are often labeled as close work friends of the opposite sex, however one researcher finds this is not always the case. 
"We've researched instances where heterosexual individuals have work spouses who are of the same sex - and many examples of work spouses where one is heterosexual and the other is gay, lesbian or bisexual," noted Chad McBride, an associate professor who studies these relationships at Creighton University.
Really? Close friends of the same sex? You're kidding me. (And for my next paper, the moisture content of water!) Work spouses (and lab spouses, too) aren't really about gender; they're about trust and acceptance.

(It's worth pointing out that lab spouses can be a friction point inside a lab environment, especially when they start teaming up against other lab members. Don't do that.)


  1. This sounds great and makes sense like most scientists most likely we spend about 90% of our time in the lab setting good to have support in place we pretty much live our lives. Of course like any "marriage" things can go sour but arguments happen anytime there are people its in the way its handled.

  2. But teaming up against other members is the best part! It's like your own personal version of Gladiator. It's only no fun if you're the scrawny little guy paired up with the giant dude who uses your body as a shield/weapon.

  3. Oh yeah. We had our spats from time to time, but my lab spouse kept me sane.

  4. @CJ and J-Bone: Has either one of you been a participant (willing or not) in disputes between lab factions? What is the best way to remain nonaligned?

  5. Yeah, I had one of those lab spouses for about a year (opposite sex). It was all strictly professional and friendly. Then we started sleeping with each other and moved in together and became more like real spouses. But we always tried really hard not to team up on others by eating lunches separately with different lab factions and not talking too much to each other during the work day when everyone else was there. Some group meetings when we argued a lot with each other got kind of weird... but it could always be remidied by a pillow fight later that night.

  6. @Anon1:03 - That's called "chemcest", if I don't miss my guess....@CJ - that's a whole other post, when a labmate becomes a "real spouse"...we had a dedicated lab couple in grad meeting dynamic got really weird after they finally confirmed it!

  7. 1:03 Anon here...

    Yeah, "chemcest" makes it sound really, really bad. I was already very embarrassed at the whole thing while we were in the same group. We were drinking beer one time on Friday after happy hour and we ended up in a room alone. It couldn't be helped! But something about that term makes it sound a lot worse. Good thing I'm anonymous.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20