dimanche 30 novembre 2008

Who's that girl?


It's funny how sometimes friends become colleagues and colleagues become friends. Either way, it can be difficult to manage.

We all see job opportunities at our places of 'work' and think "that'd be perfect for X". But then, hopefully, we take a minute and think "but do I really want to work with X?". 9 times out of 10 the answer should be no. Working with friends can be great but it's generally a recipe for disaster.

One Christmas, when I was a student, I had a holiday job cutting letters out of floristry foam and making words from them - words like 'grandma', 'dad', 'mom' and 'son'. Words that would form the basis for floral tributes to recently deceased loved ones. A real jolly job, as you can imagine...."we need three more grandma's , an 'open book' and an 'empty chair' please". Lord, it was depressing.

This job was supposed to be fun. Me and a friend from Uni had both been 'successful' and had both been employed for the holidays by this company. Alas, it turned out to be less than fun, as my friend turned out to be lazy, lacking attention to detail and, frankly, a bit of a slut. As she spent her break times flirting with the factory supervisor - who then ignored her lack of production or her occasional 'mohter' or 'fhater' - I'd spend mine wishing that she was someone I didn't know and would never see again.

We never really got our friendship back on line when we returned to school after the break. She just wasn't the same person to me.

So, with this in mind, I've always shied away from getting too friendly with colleagues. Sometimes, however, you get on so well with someone that you want to know more about them than whether or not they wash their coffee cups before going home.

And that's where my newly-christened 'Lovely English Friend' comes in. A great girl that I've worked with for six years. She stuns me with her intelligence as much as she makes me laugh with her classic put-downs and one-liners. We were talking about a colleague recently and she said "oh her? I don't have anything to do with her. She's just a 'half-person'." Beautiful.

So, breaking my rules about friends at work, I invited my Lovely English Friend to come visit me in Paris this weekend.

We had a great weekend - wandering the streets in search of entertainment, food and a good gin and tonic. I even introduced her to my Lovely French Friend.

One of the highlights was the Patrick Demarchelier exhibition at the Petit Palais. Absolutely amazing, iconic photographs of Gianni Versace, Diana, Madonna and little Tommy Cruise amongst others, all mixed in with the permanent collection of old masters to make an amazing and unique show.

We spent saturday night dancing at the silliest of gay clubs in Paris - le Tango - and generally laughing a lot at the crappy music, the bad dancing and the Frenchness of the whole thing. As we danced along to American Boy, I realised that my colleague had become a good friend. A friend first, a colleague second. After all, I don't dance to American Boy with just anyone, you know.

I guess the goal of all this rambling is to say that sometimes being brave, taking a chance on a friendship is a good thing. While I still worry about working with friends, I know that me and my LEF would probably not be friends had we not met at work.

I maintain that my 'no friends at work' rule is a good one. But rules are meant to be broken, no?

16 commentaires:

conortje a dit…

She sounds lovely so she does - even if I'm somewhat jealous of her getting to dance American Boy with you :-)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Big C, it was your face I saw, even if it was her that I was dancing with...he he.

cb a dit…

I agree. Most of the time I keep business and personal life completely separate. Glad you two had an excellent time though.

More to the point, would you dance to American Boy with THIS American boy??

travelling, but not in love a dit…

CB - Oh boy, you KNOW I would.

Every weekend, if it wasn't for that pesky Atlantic Ocean...

tornwordo a dit…

That, of course, all changes once babies start being made. They don't come back around then for a dozen years.

Valleys Mam a dit…

Its ok if you are the same level, often the problems starts if you are the boss and people perceive that there's an unfair advantage.
Or, if one has a promotion. Been there and felt the kick back from that. May be its Ok if you are on two different continents.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Torny, very true sir, very true...

VM - you're absolutely right - I've been bitten by that before now...can be awful.

12ontheinside a dit…

I do think it is best to keep work and friends separate. It can be hard though. I'm trying to extricate myself from a few of my work friendships because they are just too naughty and it makes me look bad. I'm naughty too but less likely to get caught than they are.

The Hangar Queen a dit…

Broadly speaking I agree with you on keeping work and friends on different tracks.

Then again my dearest friends came into my life through work.It was,admittedly,a unique workplace and we put our lives in each others hands on a daily basis.We also 'lived' with each other on the road for up to a month at a time.

Compared to that standard every other workplace friedship I've had seems like the merest dalliance.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

12oti - I often think that too....that I can get away with things that other people can't.

You wouldn't believe the trouble it gets me into, ha ha.

HQ - it's very true, sometimes working together is about totally putting your trust in the people around you. In those situations it'd be impossible to leave without some close friendships...

Brett a dit…

One of my good friend started out as a customer in the shop i worked, and a difficult and awkward one at that. But over the years he became a fixture in the shop, even helping to serve at times, till we became good friends, that job is long gone now but we still meet quite regularly.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Brett, it can happen like that too, I guess. I ended up getting drunk with a customer once and he made a huge pass at me. I ignored it, but the relationship was lost - and so was the customer shortly afterwards....I don't drink with customers anymore, ha ha

Daryl a dit…

Baby steps

:-Daryl

travelling, but not in love a dit…

D, Indeed...

Louise a dit…

All rules are meant to be broken, but I think it is totally wise of you to be so careful about breaking this one. I can only think of one friend that I have that was sensible both at work and socially. It's cool you have one. My guess is she had just as much fun.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Louise, it's a rare opportunity to gossip about everyone else we work with, without feeling that the other person may turn out to be untrustworthy....it was fab!