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Monday, 18 November 2019

Your Work Colleagues Are Not Your Friends - Part 2

By Waiching

I've been at Costco for over a year and out of all the places I have worked, I feel far more settled especially in my role, than I have ever been. But over time, the experiences that I have encountered, both professionally and personally in this competitive retail environment, have been both positive, as well as negative; part of this can be attributed to my working relationships with my work peers. There are cliques where I work, but I am not part of any of them and choose to keep things to myself..., and quite frankly, I am happy with that: I choose not to get wrapped up in other people's business, I just do the job, get paid and go home.

Although whilst the job is challenging, it is far from boring & when I am in the right frame of mind and highly motivated, I work hard or be it to the best of my ability to deliver quality results and I am also a keen learner of whom wants to improve and get better, each step of the way.

If you work with someone or some people and get on well with them, more so than with others at work, it's understandable why you might feel more comfortable with and become attached towards him/her. I mean, you spend considerable time together, you talk to each other, have a bit of a laugh -, yet some people make the mistake of confusing colleagues for friends, & this could be to do with him/her holding them to high regard. You might be at a workplace where you see more of your coworkers than you do of your own family on a weekly basis. It is professional and noble to be friendly, civil and cordial with everyone, but that doesn't equate to becoming friends, nor does that everyone at work is your friend. It is something that took me a while to understand and realise - and now that I do, by not taking it personally and to just focus on my duties and on work, that I become more content with myself. I strike up conversations or talk to him/her because I am cordial, friendly, that I do it out of respect.

Being friendly and being friends with coworkers are two completely different things. It's also complicated; that and it is not the same as having friends outside of work or making friends through social circles. 

The danger is when you make it as a personal thing and people expect too much from others or a certain person as a friend in their eyes; that, or me and them become really chummy and get on so well that in my eyes I think they are a friend... when clearly they are not that you feel let down when things don't go the way you expected. By investing so much of your energy and efforts in him/her, you become wracked with guilt (when it isn't your fault) when it happens and you are allowing your personal emotions to become conflicted & afflicted, - and with that, you end up feeling upset and getting hurt in the process. Therefore, it is vital that you need to be clear and conscious about your actions and feelings, you need to be aware of and familiarising yourself with people's personality traits at work by identifying & observing them yourself and how you deal and interact with him/her... but also knowing when to back away and keep a distance when it becomes too much, or s/he is toxic. 

Not only will you not find yourself caught up in the middle of sour and difficult workplace situations, scenarios via arguments, fallouts, breakdowns in communication, but you'll avoid the unnecessary hassles, stresses and strained tensions that occur.

If s/he has disappointed you in some way or another, just let your guard down, give yourself some time to cool off, get over it, forgive them and move on. There is no point dwelling on it any further. Rather use this as an opportunity to analyse and help you know how they think, act and operate and through that, find a way to work around and with him/her, as opposed to working against them.

The main goal for pretty much everyone is to get paid and to progress further on in their careers (I mainly see pound signs flashing in my eyes as I work), with building and forging positive working relationships with their coworkers coming in second place. When I was young, I was very shy, timid and was mostly an introvert who kept things to myself... fast forward today as a 30-something, whilst I am mostly quiet, I try to find ways to come out of my shell and be more open when possible and necessary during conversations and work-related situations.

Yet I keep my personal life separate and try not to diverge too much information and I do not hang out with or socialise with my colleagues outside of work & in social gatherings that aren't company-related. By separating your emotions and feelings from work and focusing and concentrating solely on doing the job that is expected of you, you are in a) a better frame of mind and b) you'll end up feeling much happier, satisfied and content.  

Because at the end of the day, the only person you need to look out for and to take care of, is yourself- for all this talk about 'teamwork' that is banded around and being in the same boat as your fellow coworkers, this is, as the expression goes,'' all smoke and mirrors''; really, everyone else at work is looking out for themselves as their #1 priority, so by putting yourself and your interests first, is not selfish. Even the humble ones. You and/or the people you work with may see themselves (or you may see them) as competitors, or even rivals and because of the competitive and challenging nature that work poses, it just isn't entirely feasible to become friends with them, or for them to be friends with you. 

It's workplace politics. It's personal, in the sense of, you are literally working to keep your place at the company, and professional by means of remaining professional and to not resort to dirty underhanded tactics. 

Let's face it: unless you are part of a really clicky clique (i.e. sharing the same culture) that gets on like extremely well, no one at your workplace will sacrifice their paycheque for a friendship - it's the harsh truth, but it is the truth, sadly. You are contracted to your company - not your work colleagues.

I talk to and converse with around 2, 3, 4 colleagues most out of everyone else at work, - and still, I don't consider and see them as friends. The people I work with are not friends of mine and we don't have a close-knit bond or deeper and underlying personal connection, but they, or be it some of them are interesting characters, nevertheless. What happens at work stays at work, but also keep your opinions, which everyone is entitled to, to yourself. Whatever they say or think about me in their heads, after work or outside of work, I don't really care about.

Stay away from cliques and people who may get you into trouble before you know it. Remain professional - not personal -, respectful and civil, work to your best, stay within your boundaries and be wary of the types of individuals you surround yourself with & the types of information and things you say to, as well as disclose and share with them. & don't ever be afraid to shut them out, if and when necessary when you feel they are a strain on your work life.  

Face it: I don't get paid to make friends at work - I get paid for the work I do.

And if anyone at college, university, school tells you you make friends at work, they are liars. They just don't understand workplace politics as fully as they ought to do. Hate to break this to you, but you shouldn't (ever) take their word for granted. 

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