The Importance of Good Colleagues

Who do you spend most of your waking hours with?

For me, the answer is undoubtedly my work colleagues…at least Mondays through Fridays 🙂

There are so many men and women of all different ages and backgrounds who have taught me some of the most valuable life lessons and been with me through both the best and worst times of my life…helping me through the first time I experienced the loss of a family member, celebrating engagements and weddings, distracting me on a flight that’s making me nervous by chatting nonstop, rocking it out on the daily carpool ride to work, etc etc etc.  Often, they’re right there on the front lines with me…the first ones to know of good or difficult news, even sometimes before my nearest and dearest friends.

I read the article below awhile ago and found myself smiling and agreeing with most of it, thinking of specific memories for each mention.  The title is, “The Ways Your Coworkers Know More About You Than Your Friends Do”, and it appeared on the website EliteDaily.

1. They see you under pressure and immense stress. For the most part, your coworkers are right there with you when you’re in the trenches and sifting through the muck. Your colleagues know how to handle you when you’re on edge and can empathize when you’re juggling a nearing deadline and demanding boss.

2. They celebrate you on your actual birthday. Your best coworker also plays the role of your mom when she sneaks away to organize a surprise “Happy Birthday” serenade in the kitchen. She even knows you well enough to buy your favorite Macchiato cookies, instead of cake.

3. They see you in your natural state. Whether you’re running late and looking like hell or eschewed the makeup case after a rough night out, your colleagues have seen you at your worst. Sick, tired, hungover, tear-stained, puffy — you name it. We seriously wonder how anyone lands a cubicle boyfriend.

4. They double as your therapist. When your significant other, family or friends are pissing you off, you know you can vent to your coworkers about it. They won’t judge you or take sides because they don’t personally know these people in your life (aside from what scary stories you share about their grooming habits and from briefly meeting at those blurry holiday parties). Above all else, office policy dictates they are obligated to listen to it.

5. They know how you take your coffee, what you order in your salad and what cream cheese to buy on bagel day. And on a rough day, they know what bag of chips to grab, or which bar of chocolate when you’re having a random craving at 3 pm. Colleagues know your eating habits better than the neighborhood Chipotle cashier, whom you routinely visit more often than you’d care to admit…

6. They don’t judge when you’re bitching about something as trivial as a paper jam. …Or when you’re frustrated because Jack in Accounting messed up your paycheck. Or when your computer spontaneously shut down and didn’t save. Or when you have to come in early for no reason, other than it’s your job. Or maybe today the lack of toilet paper really set you off. Whatever it is, your coworkers have been there.

7. They commiserate with your financial struggles. No one quite understands how to live off your pitifully low salary until they have inherited your job. Your colleagues are among the few who can share in your financial woes because they’re earning basically the same as you. There’d be way more happy hours together if you and the team could afford it.

8. They can directly relate to a huge component of your life. Articulating why your boss is the devil to an outside friend is not as easy as when you explain it to your associate. She better understands the office environment and personal dynamics and, thus, relates to your problems with authority. If you’re questioning whether to take a sick day, you know she’ll give you an honest answer because she’s familiar with the work mentality.

9. They know the live details of your breakup and when you’re on your period. Who else is going to slyly pass you a tampon underneath your desk?

10. Everything is communal. Your associates are obligated to share everything with you: bathroom stalls, casual snacks from the commissary, talk time and even your favorite pen in times of desperation. It’s easy to bond over a shared love of black ballpoint Bics.

11. They’ve seen you with your guard down. Whether you got momentarily heated during an intense debate or you cried after receiving terrible news about your performance, your associates have seen it all. They’re the people sitting side-by-side with you every day, through the pressure-cooker situations and account celebrations. While they may be slightly horrified at times, they definitely know you better than most.

I hope you have I have been fortunate to have some of the most FUN and AMAZING coworkers over the first eleven years of my professional career.  To my current and past colleagues who are reading this – thank you 🙂       

Cheers!

SMR

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A Winning Awards Speech

(Definitely NOT gonna write about the Academy Awards, because I’m STILL shaking my head at the Best Picture debacle.  Big fat fail.)

With how much I loved the movie Hidden Figures, I’m shocked that I never wrote about Taraji P. Henson’s acceptance speech when the film won Best Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards in January.

Based on the actors’ shocked looks that appeared on their faces when their movie was announced, they weren’t exactly expecting the win.  It was so pure and joyful 🙂

The film’s leading lady, Taraji P. Henson, delivered one of the best acceptance speeches I can remember from recent awards shows.  The full video is below (and is less than three minutes long – watch it all), but one of my favorite excerpts is:

“This story is of unity.  This story is what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race.  We win.  Love wins.  Every time.”

Cheers!

SMR

“The Big Chill”

Soundtrack throwback!

I was at my parents’ house today, and a movie was playing in the background.  I wasn’t watching it at all but realized they were playing some REALLY good songs.  I asked my dad what it was, and he said “The Big Chill”.  I immediately could picture the CD cover and smiled at the memories of listening to it on my stereo when I was a kid.

the-big-chill-soundtrack

The movie was released in 1983, and IMDB has this as the synopsis:

A seminal Thirty-Something movie in which a group of old college friends who are now all grown up and hardened by the big wide world come together for the funeral of Alex, a barely glimpsed corpse, who was at one time the brightest and the best of them, and yet who never managed to achieve half as much as any of the others. The friends use the occasion to reacquaint themselves with each other and to speculate as to what happened to their idealism which had been abundant when they were younger.

I don’t know how popular the movie was or anything about it (other than what IMDB has above and that it had some big name movie folks like Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Close, and Kevin Kline), but the soundtrack is DAMN GOOD.

Check out the original track list below:

  • “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, Marvin Gaye
  • “My Girl”, The Temptations
  • “Good Lovin'”, The Rascals
  • “The Tracks of My Tears”, The Miracles
  • “Joy To The World”, Three Dog Night
  • “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, The Temptations
  • “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman”, Aretha Frankin
  • “I Second That Emotion”, The Miracles
  • “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, Procol Harum
  • “Tell Him”, The Exciters

I mean…SUCH a good collection of tunes, right??!

(I said “original” track list because apparently they released a 15 year anniversary soundtrack that’s more songs from the movie.  It’s pretty dang good too, but not nostalgic for me at all since it wasn’t the original album I remember 🙂 )

Cheers!

SMR

 

Comfort Food Meal Plan

Last weekend was my dad’s birthday, and as we do every year, we cooked him a birthday meal of his choosing.  And it was a GOOD ONE, if I do say so myself 🙂

The only parameters he gave us were that he wanted meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Comfort food to the max, which would be even more perfect on a cold winter day.  But we sure didn’t mind the 65 degree weather!

I’m not a huge meatloaf fan, and had never made one before, but this recipe was the bomb dot com.  Thank you Tyler Florence!  Everyone devoured it, and the leftovers were delish, too.

Try out this menu sometime!

Meatloafhttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/dads-meatloaf-with-tomato-relish-recipe

Mashed Potatoes – however you like to make them 🙂

Green Beans  with Bacon and Onions – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe

Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/cafe-green-salad-recipe

BrowniesBetty Crocker rocks.  These are my family’s go-to brownies, available in any grocery store.  (Unless Mom’s making her Cheesecake Brownies, which I haven’t yet mastered).

Make it a great weekend, everyone!

Cheers,

SMR

Working on Vacation

The photo below is from our Cancun 2011 family getaway. And it was the last time I ever worked while on vacation 😊

At the time, I was in project management and working on a MASSIVE 21-country special project on top of my normal client work.  For a number of reasons – some of them outside my control, some not…and none of them good ones – I worked for more than two full days at the beginning of that trip before this photo was taken at a cute bar in a park by the ocean.

I watched from my hotel balcony as my family enjoyed the beautiful infinity pool, walks on the beach, and happy hours at the swim up bar.

And I was on my damn laptop.

Everyone has to make choices about work/life balance. Do you work to live, or live to work? Or maybe fall somewhere in between?  Do you check emails daily while on vacation, even if it’s just to manage the size of your inbox?  Or let it all pile up until you’re back?

You gotta decide what’s right for you. But PLEASE consider the following points:

1 – If paid time off is part of your employee benefit package, and you don’t take that time off, you aren’t going to make any more or any less money.  You’re just throwing away days that you could be paid for while sitting on your couch all day watching Netflix, shopping at the mall, or visiting a swim up bar at a beautiful resort 😁

2 – I don’t care who you are, what line of work you’re in, or how old you are…everyone needs a break!  Take time off to disconnect and step away from your laptops and iPhones and offices.  You’ll be a better spouse, parent, friend, and worker – I GUARANTEE it.

3 – Not only will you be mentally rejuvenated by taking time off and disconnecting from work, you’ll be healthier, too. Stress – even good stress – can be hard on your body.

4 – A “vacation day” doesn’t mean you HAVE to travel somewhere. Staycations rock, too!

Since that trip to Cancun back in 2011, I’ve not worked a single moment on vacations, and I use up every hour of paid time off every year. And it’s been awesome 🙂  I don’t even check email, because there’s a good chance I’ll see something work-related and spend time thinking about it.  And I’m just not about that anymore. My time off is too precious.  I work damn hard and deserve it a break!

Again, you gotta decide what’s right for you.  But take it from someone who has seen both sides of that coin…

You’ll NEVER regret taking time off and making memories with family or friends.  But you WILL regret allowing work to take priority over those things.

Cheers!

SMR

Dog Humor

I myself am allergic to dogs, so no pups in our house. But I do have a “puppy brother” – my parents’ dog named Lucky. He’s the cutest EVER – see?!!


Anyway, when I found this meme below, I couldn’t help but chuckle as I recalled a day when I visited my parents’ house and saw literally the exact same scenario in their living room, with a stuffed toy instead of a pillow 😊


I hope it made you laugh, too!

Cheers, 

SMR