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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