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Office Romance Isn’t Safe

An Archer episode shows the violent side of office romance.

In the FX series, Archer, the episode, “Training Day,” shows how poor management skills can lead to disastrous consequences.  Archer is a show chronicling the adventures of a secret agent, Archer, and the daily operations of the agency that he works for, ISIS.  Archer works with another field agent, Lana, whom he used to date.  Currently, Lana dates the accountant, Cyril.  The manager of the agency, Malory, is also Archer’s mother.  The shenanigans that go on in ISIS contribute to a ridiculously hostile work environment, as evidenced in the video below.   

In the second episode of Archer, Malory fears that Lana again has romantic thoughts regarding Archer and wants to eradicate these thoughts as she dissaproves of the relationship.  In order to reroute her Lana’s thoughts back to Cyril, Lana’s current boyfriend, Malory decides to promote Cyril to field agent to make him appear more manly.  Archer is instructed to train him, but he finds out about this plot and constructs his training exercises in ways to discourage Cyril from becoming an agent, presumably because of Archer’s own thoughts toward Lana.  These exercises are ridiculous, and culminate in what Cyril believes to be the death of a prostitute (This is not actually the case, as Archer has rigged the situation).  When Archer and Cyril are suddenly attacked by an dangerous unknown car, Cyril becomes increasingly afraid that he will get caught with a dead prostitute, who is hidden in the trunk.  The attacker ends up being Lana, who finds out about each member at ISIS’s motives and wants to end the whole thing.  She gets frustrated at Archer and Cyril, as well as Malory, and the ISIS staff endure yet another blunder. 

This situation, while ridiculous, actually relates to the business management of employees and their relationships.  It’s clear that romances in the workplace are dangerous and can cause great grief when these romances become intertwined with work decisions.  Malory’s decision to promote Cyril was a direct consequence of Lana’s romance with Cyril.  However, this decision led to a huge loss in capital for ISIS as well as a loss in morale for the workers.  Being a high task job that involves risking one’s life everyday, ISIS employees shouldn’t have to worry about workplace politics and relationships hindering their productivity.  In addition, the manager (Malory) should understand that promoting employees because of ulterior motives is an awful idea – especially in a job that requires physical and mental demands that the employee may not possess.  Such is the case for Cyril, the company accountant who clearly cannot handle being a field agent as he doesn’t have the skills to perform effectively in these high pressure types of situations.  Malory knew this, and therefore intentionally put Cyril’s life in danger to protect her own interests. 

Business romances can many times be manageable and discreet, but once these relationships affect the workplace in an adverse way, management needs to step in and take action.  These relationships oftentimes create unwanted political situations in the office that are detrimental to productivity.  These effects are magnified exponentially in job that requires one to risk one’s life, as the case is with ISIS field agents.


About Ben K.

I'm a senior management major at Bucknell University, hailing from Westchester, NY. Upon graduation, I will begin work as a management consultant.


3 thoughts on “Office Romance Isn’t Safe

  1. Ben, I have always wondered the same thing, especially after interning this summer for a manager who had a wife in the same company. I overheard many underhanded jokes about his situation questioning the nature of the relationship and the position of both husband and wife. People couldn’t help but wonder was he in his position because of he high status his wife exhibits in the firm? Did she possibly pull strings and use her powerful connections to jockey her husband into a better position despite other candidates possibly being more qualified. I generally dismissed any such claims, yet it is an interesting psychological question to wonder. Do office romances impede corporate morale or hinder respect for one’s manager?

    Posted by Derek | March 6, 2012, 9:32 am
    • Yea Derek, I completey agree that these questions are worth thinking about. It is one thing to have a family owned company, but in a global mutlinational company, what politics come into play when there is a high profile relationship in the company? I would think that employees would be cognizant of their comments about someone who has a spouse in the company. This might hinder produtivity, morale, and overall respect within the company. It’s funny though, because more and more employers are asking their workers to work non traditional hours which provide a perfect time for employees to mingle and get to know each other better. It’s easy to see how some employees can get romantically involved, especially at larger firms, when they work together during the day and night. Work life seems to be increasingly creeping into home life and this perpetuates the opportunity for employees to create relationships that are more than just work related. Is it good for business?

      Posted by Ben K. | March 6, 2012, 4:48 pm
  2. Great post, especially after our gender/race piece this past week. Relationships in the workplace is an interesting concept. Personally, I have not worked for a company in which this took place but I imagine it would not be the most productive situation. Moreover, Derek the situation you described would seem to be especially troubling. You bring up some great questions about how the spouse reached his position. Relationships in the work place draw a fuzzy line between emotions and making sound ethical business decisions. And not to mention I don’t think I would want to work in the same division as my girlfriend.

    Posted by Patrick | March 7, 2012, 6:31 pm

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