There Are No Real Friends At Work
Most likely, you are one of those people that go into work on Monday with such bountiful stories of your frolicking weekend that you can’t wait to confess your sins to whoever has the time. First on your list to confess to? Your cubicle mate… Of course! You at least have to tell the person you sit right next to for hours at a time, right? AHHHH, but wait! Who are you REALLY sitting next to? Are you so sure that your cubical mate is the friend you think they are? And is work really the place to hold confessionals?
It’s a shame, but even if you are the most qualified person on the job and things are going great, your whole credibility could be tainted and undermined because your “friendly” co-worker never did want to know about your weekend romp, or for that matter, really want to know you well enough to see you for the complete person you are. All that keeps flashing in their minds is how you had this major, raucous, and irresponsible drinking spree that ended in you barfing everywhere and passing out in some guy’s arms you don’t know. Making them constantly weary of whether you are capable to handle your job and make wise judgments. This co-worker could also have their own personal issues that can compound their thoughts about you; whether it is they’re a closet conservative, or something else in their past that is unbeknownst to you, all of which creates an ever growing trepidation towards you and your work, and the desire to pass along their new assumption of you to the higher powers that control your future at that company.
This is especially something to watch out for if you work as a personal assistant, or in such a small business that your “cubical mate” is actually your boss. There is a dilemma that arises when a sense of camaraderie exists, but it is still your boss who wants to connect and asks you seemingly innocuous, "How was your weekend?" and other get-to-know-you questions You may think you’re in a safe environment to go ahead and discuss some of your hardships since that same boss liked you enough to hire you, but alas your boss is really not a friend, and doesn’t want to know how crazy your personal relations are, or have been. I have heard of several stories where people have been terminated based on their boss learning how disrupted their personal life was to the point where they didn’t think the person could handle anymore stress, which the job would absolutely entail. Right or wrong, it has happened. What’s also important to remember is that no matter how “close” you do get with your superior, at some point in time they may have to actually to do their job and that could leave you high and dry.
Bottom line is you need to take the time to feel out the people with whom you work for and with. You can send yourself astray if you don’t pay attention to what your co-workers bring to the table, and see what they like to talk about--and not talk about--before going off about your latest personal romp. Most people do need some time to warm up to your sense of humor and overall angle on life in order to commiserate. In those cases where your boss just has to ask 20 questions and it is a risky situation, finding blanket phrases that say just enough is key. Like, “It was a relaxing weekend.” And if all of these things don’t seem to make a difference in creating a safe, supportive, and friendly work environment for you to advance your career goals, then the final thing to consider is whether this particular company is worth you nip and tucking who you are to reach those goals. However, I have a feeling that this may be a daily question for some of you.
Originally published in In the Scene Magazine
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