This Valentine’s Month, we’re talking romance and relationships. Let’s begin by tackling an age-old question: can you work at the same company with your significant other? Is it possible to maintain both romantic and professional relationships with your lover-slash-colleague? To find out, Jeremiah Capacillo spoke with Brevo graphic designers Carissa Lucasia and Tim Leachon, aka the agency’s resident creative power couple.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Jeremiah: Hey guys! Okay, let’s start with the basics—how did the two of you meet and fall in love?
Tim: Carissa and I were actually both batchmates and coursemates at the College of Saint Benilde, we were both then taking up Multimedia Arts.
Carissa: We weren’t close for the first few years. We just knew each other from mutual friends and classes.
T: Later on, I followed Carissa on Twitter and we started chatting online.
C: A few pizza dates later and, well, here we are.
J: Carissa, you’ve been working as a graphic designer for Brevo since 2018. Tim, you joined the team as a designer in 2020. Did the two of you have any anxieties or worries about working together?
T: Nope, no anxieties for me so far. We’re used to working with each other since college, and we bring out the best in each other. I think if anything changed, [it’s] all in a positive way.
C: I’m gonna be honest, yes I was a bit anxious. I know myself, and I know that I’m a different person when I'm in a relationship, versus when I’m at work as a creative. I was also a bit worried that our personal life might overlap with my professional life, and I might not be able to handle it well. I was also thinking, what if there was a conflict of interest? Because Tim's my boyfriend, and suddenly he joined our agency. Will there be bias, or something? So we try to keep things as professional as possible now.
J: Did you guys put any boundaries in place to clearly delineate your work life and love life? Like just to make sure that there's no overlap?
C: I told Tim before he started to minimize the PDA in our work group chat. [laughs] I know some people don't like that, and personally I also don't like PDA that much. So when we do PDA, we make it a point to keep it between ourselves.
J: So, how has your relationship changed ever since you both started working together?
T: I got to see a new side of Carissa. It’s nice to see her hard at work at an office setting, so my respect for her as a creative really grew.
C: For me, the time we spend together each day has increased significantly. I like it because for example, I no longer have to check up on Tim to see if he’s eaten lunch, stuff like that. I also love seeing the ways Tim grows, like in terms of skills and time management, etc.
J: Okay! So next question: has working together made you see your SO in a new light?
C: For me, yes. I saw how much more creative Tim could be, and I saw how easily he gets along with people. Before we worked together, I didn’t really see how he worked with his former officemates. But even back then, he already got along really well with the Brevo team. So when he joined our agency, I fully saw just how well he can get along with new people.
J: Tim, how about you?
T: Well, I saw how different Carissa’s work environment was from where I used to work, and it made me appreciate how much hard work goes into producing actual design studio work. She inspired me to work even harder, seeing that she works way better than...
C: [laughs] Than who?
T: No I mean….as compared to my previous work environment, which was super chill.
C: Ahhh, okay.
T: So comparing that to how hard Carissa has to work daily, it inspired me to be more creative and work even harder.
J: Have you guys learned anything from each other since you started working together?
C: Hmm, what have I learned from Tim? [laughs] I guess I learned some technical stuff from him. At his previous job, he used to work on animation and video editing. So now, when I work on animation, I ask him for help. He helps me with exporting stuff, hotkeys, and other technical things.
J: So, time for the million-dollar question: do you think you can work in the same office as your SO?
T: Big yes.
C: As long as you both set clear boundaries, and you’re both okay with working together.
J: Do you have any advice for couples who find themselves with the opportunity to work together in the same office?
T: Just don't mix up personal issues and work. It really affects your work process, and most likely you’ll end up not being able to focus on your tasks.
C: Very true. I'm not really the best at giving advice, but I agree with Tim—you really have to be able to separate your personal issues from your professional life. Like, you don't always have to be all work work work, or all love love love. There has to be a balance between the two. Also, enjoy the time that you have together!