The romance of employment

While romantic literature is concerned with getting a proposal of marriage, much modern science fiction is concerned with getting a job offer. And while the mate is supposed to be worthy, as well as worth much, the company doing the hiring is supposed to be interesting, important, and innovative. The real difference is that SF deals with exciting jobs, but romantic fiction usually drops the happy couple at the church and goes on its way.

I thought of this recently, after Neil Stephenson's Anathem, where all the characters eventually get recruited into a complex mission, and Bruce Sterling's The Caryatids, where all the various characters (all clones of the same person) get recruited to save the world--retrogressively sleeping with the man hiring them in the bargain (you didn't think we could get rid of that other "romance" in the process, did you? It just has to happen in the workplace.) William Gibson has a lot of hiring and employment in his books, and I'd say it was a fairly common trope.

Most of the writers of these books, on the other hand, are unwilling-to-be-employed freelancers, which allows them to romanticise the workplace without worrying about the realities of quarterly numbers, Yankee swaps at the holiday party, and notices about keeping the microwave clean.

Jane Austen never got married, either.