March 22, 2012
I recently started watching a TV show called “The Big C”. It focuses on a woman who discovers she has cancer, and has about a year to live. As a result, she totally breaks out of her shell and tries to live life to the fullest with the limited time she has left. She tries to enjoy life more, and stops being so uptight and concerned about what other people think.
In one episode, she is in a banker’s office. When he leaves the room for a moment, she takes a giant bite out of his cinnamon bun! She has no fear of what he will say or do. She wants it, so she goes for it. What’s the worse that could happen? Now I don’t suggest that you all go out there and do the same, but this is an interesting observation of how human behavior is affected by the absence of social pressures or in this case, the absence of adherance to social pressures.
As I watched that episode, I started to think about my own life right now, and the fact that I’m kind of in the same boat as our lady with cancer. I currently have one week left at my current job, and although I’m going to be jobless and broke by the end of the month, I feel a strange sense of liberation. For example, our dress code states that we must not wear jeans, except for on casual Fridays. Well today is Thursday, and guess what? I felt like wearing jeans, so I’m wearing jeans! Take that! What are they going to do to me? Fire me? It’s already been done. On other days, I arrive to work 15 minutes late beacuse I want to spend a few extra minutes with my kids before school. So I’m late. Big deal. The whole building isn’t going to burn down!
I just love that feeling of sweet release, knowing that I can relax the standards a bit, because I’m not trying to make the perfect impression for my boss anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a total slacker. That would just be disrespectful. (Plus, I don’t want to burn my bridges!) But it feels like for the next few days, while I’m winding down, and they don’t have ultra-high expectations for my performance, I can actually breathe. I can have a brief break from the tight squeeze of the corporate establishment, and it’s uptight, often pointless policies. I’m almost out of the game, so sometimes, I cheat a little bit!
March 14, 2012
No matter where you work, or what you do, everybody needs a support system at work. You know, those friends who you hang out with, have lunch with, and chit-chat about everything at work: good and bad! There have been some days in my recent past when I don’t know how I would have coped if I didn’t have my “Office Girlfriends”.
Office girlfriends are always there to cheer you on when exciting things happen, whether it’s a promotion, or a little lunchtime shopping to ease the stress of an otherwise brutal day. And the old standby: a cozy chat by the coffee machine. It’s that little bit of human contact outside of the humdrum of being a cyber drone in your cubicle all day!
We desperately need human contact. In some cases, we’ll take it in any form we can get. I remember at one office, I had to sit next to my mortal enemy. To say she was spiteful, envious and catty, wouldn’t even begin to cover it. But I must admit that there were times, that I exchanged a few minutes of idle small talk just to break the monotony of staring into my computer.
But it’s not only what they can do for us, it’s what we can do for them. Even the smallest thing can really make your office girlfriends feel better. Recently, one of my friends was reduced to tears after her boss tore her to shreds in his office. She fled to the washroom to cry it out. I didn’t know what to do, or what to say, so I gave her a bit of time to be alone, then went in, with a box of Kleenex and a hug. I could see how grateful she was that there was someone there. Sometimes, just being there is good enough.
Camaraderie is good for the soul. It makes us feel validated in a way that a manager just can’t reach us. It’s knowing that you share common ground, and can understand each other on so many levels.