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Dating at the Office – DO IT or NOT TO DO IT?

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

Providing solutions to Businesses through consultancy

My first degree at university was a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Mathematics and Physics. I love these subjects, I still do.

My second bachelor’s degree was a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Business Administration (Management). Following my graduation, I began my work as a business Consultant, working for 3 of the top 10 largest Companies in the world and others that were large Australian Companies. I loved it and ‘climbed the corporate ladder and helping companies ‘fix’ the problems they found themselves in or created.

I used to tell people that my job was no different to road rubbish collectors – part of my job was to go in and ‘clean up’ other peoples’ messes. I loved what I did and I was good at it. Very good at finding a solution to address the problem, by halting it’s progress or just minimising the consequences and probability of huge catastrophes from occurring.

I still am.

Saving companies a lot of money and heart-ache over that time. They paid good money for the advice provided too.

I spent almost 3 years for one such large Business Consulting in Sydney, Australia. It still remains as one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for. Predominantly Accountants and Lawyers with a few other ‘admin’ staff and IT and Marketing professionals. It had a great work culture, where we ‘worked hard and played hard’.

It was also where I met my wife.

Her smile stole my heart

We worked in different divisions and on different floors. I was on the 29th and she was on the 30th of one of the skyscrapers in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia.

I saw her for the first time at one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She walked by and paused, giving me the best smile I had seen in a very long while. I thought to myself – ‘wow!”.

She didn’t only have the best smile, she was beautiful too and I love beauty.

I didn’t see her again for another three weeks because I was out consulting at clients’ premises most of the time. But the Firm we worked at had terrific partners and a wonderful ‘fun’ culture. Old school with a modern twist. The Firm really got into celebrations, particularly the most famous horse race that stops the nation – the Melbourne Cup.

Everyone usually stopped work around 11am for the 3pm race.

A party atmosphere begins … alcohol flowing with lots of catered food and everyone getting in to the spirit of things. Employee and employers alike put on their best formal attire – men usually wore fancy hats and ties with their suits and the women came decked out in beautiful dresses and glamorous hats.

I loved those parties. They were some of the very best parties I have ever attended in my life so far.

A real festive mood.

Clients were invited to participate in our celebrations.

That is where I saw her again, my future wife to be.

I just love beauty.
In all its forms.
In cars and it’s design

Flirtatious versus Professional Behaviour

I think flirty behaviour and professional mannerisms don’t match. It is not a perfect fit like say, the symbol ’69’.

Even though I met my wife at work almost twenty years ago, I would advise not to date at the office in today’s world.

Here’s why.

Erotic engagements in the course of business engagements tend to be anything but simple or romantic. It doesn’t matter how exciting the initial surreptitious encounter may have been. A Gentleman put in this complicated position will be hard pressed to keep his wits about him. So would a woman.

What if the relationship goes sour? What then?

Well, the worst case scenarios have been played out in the media for a number of years now and usually involve lawyers and tonnes of hours of consultants’ time which means a lot of money.

Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
but more importantly …
be the light for someone who sees only darkness.

Private versus Professional Lives

Pessimism isn’t an attractive characteristic and is not a typical gentlemanly one. A relationship can go ‘sour’. The break-up question isn’t one to ignore when it involves a co-worker.

You’ll get asked the question by boss if he notices the two of you holding hands at the photocopier. In my case, one of the senior Partners saw us get in to the lift together several times in the mornings, and began getting  suspicious. We tried to be very careful so as to hide any evidence of our involvement, agreeing on certain ‘ground rules’ in and around the office with regards to acceptable social etiquette.

Despite us being very careful, we became the talk and gossip of the firm, amongst the fellow employees and even the Partners at Partner meetings.

But no one had evidence.

This went on for almost a year. We worked very hard to keep our private lives separate from our Professional lives and we did quite a good job at it.

Side chest pose in my gym of seven years.

Going ‘splits-ville’

I’ve been married for almost twenty years now.

It hasn’t been plain sailing but, somehow, we’ve made it work, so far. Through the good times and the bad, we’ve co-captained this viking pirate ship of ours through the varying ‘seas of life’. Always trying to keep our ship afloat, despite the different weathers that we’ve endured.

We’ve stayed afloat, mainly through belief, God’s help and hard work – individually, and together as a ‘team’. Like all good long-term relationships worth holding on to, it takes a lot of ‘Hard YAKA” as we would say here in Australia.

But not all office romances end in marriages. A breakup would likely impact on your productivity and for the two involved it’s going to make personal and professional lives miserable.

I have witnessed this first hand at the very same firm I met my wife at. Breakups can be a torrid experience and messy. People tend to leave the firm for everyone’s sake.

Everyone needs a little helping hand

Can you keep a secret?

Now, I have always believed that we are not as ‘in control of ourselves than we think.

When those sexual and love hormones flood our bodies and minds, we are completely helpless and the only way to handle it is to let ‘run it’s course’.

If you’re lucky, you would have been ‘in love’ at some point or another in your life, so you know what I mean. Modern Neuroscience also confirms this in human brain scans.

So, for those of you who decline to listen to this sage advice or your own better judgement and decide to ignite the spark you struck  in the office break room or photocopier room like I did, I ask ‘can you keep a secret?

This can, after all, be part of the attraction. It certainly added to the excitement for me and my wife in year we kept it secret.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Some secret office affair etiquette to keep in mind.

This list is not exhaustive by any means.

No public displays of affection; no lengthy toilet-breaks together; if the lift gets stuck on a regular basis between floors three and four with the two of you emerging dishevelled, people will talk;

And last but not least, if word gets out, be prepared to take your job termination and gentlemanly grace – no gnashing of teeth, no threats and no slamming doors.

No one can say you didn’t see it coming.

Choose well.

Your career and life depends on it.

All the very best in your decisions.

 

Cheers and Ahoy!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate and ….. secret office affairs

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
4th in the World in something you love isn’t too shaby for an Fiji Island Boy… who dared to not only dream … but to DREAM BIG

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Praising your Wife.

In Darling Harbour, Sydney for her sister’s wedding.

Is your wife perfect for you?

My wife, Cathy is perfect for me. She always has been and we have been together for almost twenty years now.

We met at our place of work in the city, she worked on the 30th floor and me on the 29th. We worked for the same Consultancy & Advisory Firm but in different divisions. We all remember the first time we saw/met our wives, don’t we? I’m sure you can tell me your story of how you met your wife.

Mine, well, it wasn’t something fancy, it happened while I was using the photocopying machine. Yep, I fell in love with her smile in one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She gave me the best smile I had received from anyone in a long while … she smiled from the heart.

Working there was a funny time and one of the reasons was that we tried to keep our relationship secret for about a year. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept getting caught together in the lifts and outside of work – in the city streets or cafes or even on University grounds (as my wife was completing her undergrad degree while she worked). Other work mates used to wonder if we were an item but had no evidence and we later heard that it was even included in the board meeting discussions by the Partners of the Firm.

It was a funny and great phase of our lives together.

Enjoying another habit of ours – eating at a holiday resort in beautiful paradise Islands of Fiji, where I was born and spent my early youth in.

During that period of courtship before marriage, we had more ups then downs. We still have our ups and downs and fights but I think we both knew in the first phase of our relationship that we would wind up married, best friends and partners for life.

Well, I sort of knew earlier on that we were ‘on the same wavelength’ in many facets of our being. I just shared this little story with my two children over dinner recently. The story of how their mum (my wife) and I both went out independently and without any knowledge prior to the fact that we went on the same day and bought a cd of the singer ‘Enya’. We then showed each other what we bought that evening and were both surprised that we did the same thing on the same day without saying a word.

We did this in the first year of our relationship. There were many other instances.

Freaky?

Nope, Quantum Physics says that everything is essentially comprised of waves and frequencies and so … we were figuratively and literally on ‘the same wavelength’ and have been (on most things) ever since.

She has a lovely sense of humour and is very thoughtful, with a thousand other beautiful traits. We enjoy each other and we enjoy life (for the most part).

In a big part and phase of our lives, she was in the background. For example, when I changed careers and pursued my passion of attaining “Peak Performance” in every area of life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally … and helping people. I didn’t like the way I saw Personal Trainers/Gym Trainers training people when I was in the gym and thought that I could do much better and give people what they deserve: a more efficient, more effective and most importantly, the most safest way of training and transforming a physique …. using my knowledge and experience to that point.

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

She had always been in the background in the phase of life that took me to two World Championships in the Sport I love, Natural Bodybuilding, my drive to be not just the BEST in my suburb, my state, my country … but my hunger to be the BEST in the World. I may very lousy trying to be the best in the world at say, Basketball (that would be wishful thinking/delusional thinking) because I was ‘slightly under 6 feet and I couldn’t dunk).

But in the sport of Bodybuilding, I could beat anyone (I thought) on that stage, just like a boxer could beat anyone in the ring in the same weight category. I was born with the right genetics and so had a competitive advantage, just like a tall person playing basketball has a competitive advantage in playing basketball.

My competitive advantages : I was always abnormally strong and fast and the same muscles that made me fast (the Type 2b ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres) as I learned in my studies of the human body, was also responsible for building quality, lean muscle mass.

Within a year of leaving the Corporate World to pursue my passion of helping people, help themselves, achieve something they care about …  with no ‘Plan B’ … I found myself competing in competitions. I found myself beating the best in my city – Sydney, then I found myself beating the best in my State – NSW. I didn’t stop there … I thought I may as well compete against the best in my country and I did.

I placed 1st runner-up in the Middle Weight NSW Titles and qualified for the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships where the Top 2 of each weight category qualified. I represented Australia and placed in the Top 5 (beating the guy who beat me in Australia in the Australian Titles) in the World two years in a row in the sport. The Sport I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.

 

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Leading up to that point I was an Accountant, managing a team of young clerks, Accountants and reporting to the CEO.

I had a lot of dreams (and still do) and of them was the dream of doing what I loved to do: to help people, help themselves be the best version of themselves. I knew I knew how and that I had developed my own unique philosophy and techniques “best bred” from all the great champions that have been in the Sport of Bodybuilding for over hundred years. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the most famous of legends.

It was difficult initially but I also believed I could achieve it, that it wasn’t wishful thinking … that I could beat the best in the world in my sport … that I could see myself standing with the best in the world because I believed in me. Luckily, she believed in that dream too. More importantly she believed in me. I developed a quality plan and I (with her help) executed the plan with quality. My years of developing plans for consulting jobs for large corporate clients was very useful here.

She was always there when I lived and breathed the running of my gym and helping everyone that I considered to be my Extended Family of members that just happened to be my gym members.

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

Her work was not as visible and maybe, to some people, not as important. But, my efforts and results would be nothing without a wife like her. What most people don’t realise is that something is as real and true in my family (I have two beautiful kids and a dog now) as it is in almost any man’s family:

What our wives do and have done is much more valuable in terms of eternity than anything we could ever do.

Ten years from now my name may appear in the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame or maybe Australia’s too. That may be part of my legacy. I am still a fan of the sport and almost all sports. I don’t get up on stage competitively like I used to but I still watch and cheer along with every other fan.

But my wife, Cathy’s accomplishments, unknown to most people, will be honoured for eternity. What she has done and is still doing for our family. She’s been there for my children in the early years of their lives … almost been the father and mother to them, when I spent years leaving the house very early (before 5am) and getting home late (after 9:30pm) when I used to run a gym for 7 years.

I just love this photo of my wife.

That is a phase of life I will always remember and appreciate. She was superhuman because she got help from no one as the gym and my extended family of members and my goals to be the best in the world took up my time and energy.

In the last number of years of this phase of life, she has learned to ‘fly’ again after having kids. She is now in the foreground and flourishing in her career as I take a backseat and invested my time in the children and develop other ideas that I see opportunities for.

I am excited for her and her growth in this phase of her life.

To all you men reading this, be and give the support your wife/woman needs and learn to adapt to the different phases of life.

God reminds me that yes, she is my wife and mother of our children and key part of my family but she is also Cathy Valentine – an individual, separate, looking for growth and progress in her being.

Husbands, be the wind beneath her wings. Sit back and see her fly … and go ‘wow!’

Thank God for all your blessings, which should always include your wife.

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

Here we are … my beautiful wife and I.
at a dinner party.

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

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