Saturday, 27 April 2013

On Work-Based Friends

Aside from all the complaining I've recently subjected you to regarding the childish antics I've had to deal with at work, my place of paid |(I specify paid because being a mom is always work) employment is a good place to work.

My manager and another co-worker went on their year-long maternity leave at the end of January and the other week I got together with my manager on a social level.  We've known each other in a work capacity for over 14 years and we get along well but it's pretty much been exclusively at work or work related events.   It is interesting to me how often my fellow employees get to together and hang out as friends outside of work.  The two on leave are quite good friends despite a ten year gap in their ages.  They recently drove out to visit another associate who lives 45 minutes out of town.  Yet another co-worker visits both of them here and there too.  While I am friends with my co-workers the idea of spending time with them much outside of work is odd to me.

 I realize that work is often the only social outlet some people have.  Being involved in and attending a church regularly has provided Trevor and me with a great circle of friends so maybe I don't need my co-workers as my close friends as much?  Most of us have worked together for over ten years so there is a lot of history.  Until last fall I also only worked one day week with most of them so naturally it's harder to form closer friendships. 
I'm not sure it's a great idea for a manager to be such good friends with the staff.  Having a good relationship is important to achieve a positive and effective working environment, yes, but to be such good 'friends'?  How does that work when disciplinary issues arise?  Unless the manager can put on a 'manager face' and deal with it I've yet to see it be truly successful.  Sides end up being taken and favouritism is definitely evident at times.  Of course that can occur no matter what, but, still.  With the absence of the manager and the promotion an 'acting' manager of sorts (who also is totally ganging up and taking sides), my work environment has been less-than stellar lately.

It's hard not to feel a little left out at times but, like I said, I have a lot of other people I consider my friends.  With the ages of my kids and Trevor being at home nearly every evening and weekend and my parents being local we are quite social.  Now as you're reading this I'm sure you're raising an eyebrow because I recently moaned on about being slighted and needing new friends.  That relates more to one-on-one girl friends for me.  We actually have many 'couples' friends that we have fun with and see regularly.

Fortunately, I believe that because I don't need these friendships at my paid work in the ways that others perhaps do, I've managed to stay very neutral and impartial there.  Sure, there are some associates I prefer over others but on a whole I've tried desperately to not take sides or get involved in the little war that's going on. Some days I do better than others. 


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