There’s more to work than just work. If you’re lucky, you’ll make some of your closest friends from your place of employment. There are many people whom I no longer work with but am still close to. I have learned some very valuable things from them. Here are a few tidbits:
- I hate confrontation and will avoid it at all costs. It’s how I’m made. Bernice taught me to grow a set, be bold, and how to stand up for my own ideas. But most importantly, she taught me how to do it with class.
- From Greg I learned that I absolutely hate okra stew and that I LOVE Indian food. He was the person who would always volunteer to go to out-of-the way places to try new food and encourage everyone else to eat it.
- From a person who shall remain nameless, I learned that even though a person might be super nice to you, they wouldn’t hesitate to pull the wool over your eyes. She broke through my naïveté and made me a little wiser. It needed to be done.
- Jill showed me the wonders of the Fractured Prune. If you live on the east coast of the U.S., you may know what I’m talking about. They’re the best donuts. EVER.
- A long time ago, Tami educated me on the following grammatical rule: there is only ONE space after a period. Now it’s the first thing I do in any text that is sent my way for design. I like to save my editors a little time.
- Between Steve and Jocelyn, I learned how to make the PERFECT cup of coffee. I will pass it on to you: get a coffee grinder and a French press. Grind your own beans and brew them for exactly 4 minutes. Trust me, it’ll make your morning go SO smoothly.
- Donna taught me how to handle the stickiest of office politics. She didn’t directly teach, but she was gracious enough to let people in on the inner workings of our non-profit. We knew the personalities of all of the board members, knew what went on at the board meetings, and exactly how she handled them at their worst. She prepared me for the next company I worked for.
- Once upon a time, I learned by example that you should always tie your hair back when working with the Blizzard machine or you’ll get your hair caught in the mechanism and have to be rushed to the hospital. Don’t worry, you have never eaten at that Dairy Queen.
- From a triad of management in a very small company, I learned that nepotism, racism, and sexism are very much alive today, thus making me slightly more of a cynic. I also learned how to deal with it when there is no HR department to turn to.
- Perhaps the most important thing I’ve taken away from my colleagues is how strong a bond can be forged when you all go through hell together. Any petty squabbles we normally had paled in comparison. So if you’re in a bad situation with other people, don’t hesitate to lean on them and learn from them.
There are many other things, but these are the most memorable. My palette has been broadened, my faith in humanity has been shattered and rebuilt, and I’ve become a wiser and (I like to think) better person because of the people I’ve had the luck to work with. I hope that you, too, have the same kinds of people sitting around you.
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