Workplace Relationships: Forged or Fresh?

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A long time ago someone said, “Workplace friends are not real friends.” It’s true that people we meet in the workplace are often times people we would not meet otherwise. People who share nothing of our political, cultural or any views. The only thing we have in common is the workplace and/or the profession.

But I’ve come to find that they are the truest relationships I have outside of family and close friends. The instant you meet a fellow co-worker, they’ve made an assessment of you and you have of them. When I walked into one new contract assignment, I was met with, “Uh-oh we have a freezer.” That meant I was someone who would end up complaining about the below-freezing temperature in my cube because I was under the apparent tolerant weight limit for cold.

They were right. After a few days, I learned that Sarah had only bacon for breakfast, Linda loved her dog more than life, Dave was “a scratcher” with eczema and I was cold as hell all the time.

After more time ensues, we begin to learn about our political, cultural and religious differences. I’ve always thought that type of talk was inappropriate in the workplace, but it’s inevitable because we’re often the only people to talk to when something unexpected and crazy happens outside of our little world.

Latest one, “Michael Jackson died!” All of a sudden, we’ve broached the subject of death, race, music tastes, sexuality, wealth, you name it. It also happened when John Lennon got shot, Kurt Cobain committed suicide and when the unthinkable happened–9/11.

While we were all busy trying to contact family and friends, lasting bonds were being formed because of time, place and circumstance. Years later, we would be talking about where we were and who we were with when it happened. Many times it was at work.  I was lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing people during amazing times. And many of them they are lasting friends.

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