Tuesday, July 2, 2013
How to tell if you like your co-worker
They may walk in the door and you are all full of greetings and news and chatter, and you may think you like them, but it is not necessarily so. And some other co-worker may work the whole day with you and yet you may not exchange more than five quiet sentences. It doesn't mean you aren't very fond of them, but there's a lot going on in the workplace and feelings can be easily misplaced in the tumult. Fortunately I have found one very reliable barometer for how I feel about my co-workers. My reaction to their vacations, substitutions and illnesses are perfect measures of my true feelings for them. Am I crushed that someone is taking off a week to go spend some time in Madison? Am I filled with selfish bitterness when they ruin my day by staying home with a migraine? If my answer is an emphatic yes, and they aren't one of my dearest workplace comrades, then they are at least quietly part of the bedrock that makes me happy at work. Either way they are part of the web that makes my job a place I belong, part of why I might think "Well, at least it's Tuesday" even if I barely offer myself an explanation for that thought. Conversely, if I hear someone has the day off and I feel a quiet, professional satisfaction, maybe like I've just bowled a strike, I am definitely being keyed into my low feelings regarding that person. Maybe it's not even that strong. Maybe they're going on vacation and I feel lighter, relieved. I find, unbidden, I am breathing more deeply. Many of these feelings I know I will feel ahead of time, but there are surprises sometimes too. They tend to be with the less extreme feelings. I hear someone I am friendly with will be out for a bit and I feel nothing. Someone fills in for the night and I'm suddenly delighted to see them walk in. I didn't even know I liked them. It's good to know.