Have you ever considered going to a job fair with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Or submitted both of your resumes to a company’s human resource department?
This might seem a bit odd, as in the past job seekers tended to avoid revealing their private life to employers. They feared they might be rejected for doing so, or were simply shy.
But things are changing. Many college couples are choosing jobs in the same workplace. Chen Jingji, 21, a senior majoring in Chinese literature at Sun Yat-sen University, applied to the same company in Shenzhen as her boyfriend.
She believes one of the biggest advantages of working with her boyfriend is that they can spend more quality time together.
“We can often work together. Taking a taxi here is extremely expensive, so we can share the fares,” Chen said. “It will also be easier to rent a place near the office.”
Apart from practical issues, many lovers are choosing to work together because they can discuss problems with someone who truly understands them.
“A couple working together might understand each other better,” said Mu Yuanguang, HR manager at Hainan Airlines,
“This can be especially important for women in a relationship, who often complain that their career problems are not given due importance.”
Many graduate couples don’t even conceal their intention of joining together. But HR managers might have vastly different attitudes towards this trend.
More and more companies have begun to consider recruiting talents in pairs. Sectors including oil exploration and aviation actually encourage “co-working”.
These jobs often involve long-distance travel and offer posts to both men and women. Teaching jobs and the health sector also often welcome couples.
“A pair is usually more stable in their positions, which is advantageous for the company,” Mu added.
Other companies, however, ban couples in order to avoid trouble. Some even prohibit colleagues from dating each other.
“We do not allow staff members to date. The reason is simple: what if they break up?” said Li Zhixin, a product director at Guangzhou Jinyi Network Technology Company.
“I have no way of judging the maturity of a relationship. Nor do I know how long it can last. But if it ends, it could cause intolerable friction,” said Li.
Even in companies that tolerate couples, they are not allowed to work in the same team or have a boss-subordinate relationship.
That’s because pairs working in the same department may behave too intimately. It introduces the problem of where to draw the line.
“Young lovers should think carefully before deciding to work together,” said Wu Hao, HR manger at China Southern Glass Holding Co Ltd in Shenzhen.
Qin Yuanyuan, 27, a reporter at Zhongshan TV Station, has worked with her boyfriend for five years. She advises pairs in the same company to keep their personal lives to themselves.
“You will look unprofessional if you have an argument at work,” said Qin. “Also, mingling with other colleagues will be easier.”