Whenever I think of relationships in the workplace Bowling for Soups’ High School Never Ends begins to play in my head - “Nothing changes but the faces the names and the trends”… literally. Whether we want to admit it, we wish to find our comfort zone then break past it to reach to the top, excel at each task and be rewarded for our efforts and most of all we want to be accepted.  Even the biggest workplace bullies need someone to confide in. That person may serve as their personal assistant or the run-of-the-mill office snitch. However, we need to find a balance and know when to avoid crossing delicate lines.

A little while back, when I had bigger eyes than Bambi and a softer shell than jello, I found myself “leaning” on a fellow co-worker who had far more knowledge of the business. As she was close to me in proximity, we often worked together to complete numerous assignments. It wasn’t unusual that I gradually shed a few layers of protection and found comfort in her presence. However, the moment that I decided to firmly decline her demand for me to go beyond the scope of my designated task she did not hesitate to report my “defiance” to the Manager. She had a way with words so it didn’t come as a shock to me when the Manager approached me with rage. Later that day, I left the office for a bathroom break. Upon returning, “And I wasn’t going to stand for it!” was the last thing she said and the only thing I heard before everyone carried on as usual. No doubt, I had interrupted a workplace discussion among the manager and co-workers pertaining to the events which unravelled between the senior staff member and I. This and many incidents that soon followed caused the reincarnation of my shed layers and the further development of others. I learned something. Be friendly but be smart.

Honestly, work isn’t a social club, it’s a way to earn money by solving some sort of problem i.e. if someone needs food, your job might require you to sell it or if someone needs advice, you give it. It is the best place to find friendship as you spend more hours with your co-workers than anyone else but it is vital that you first seek those who are worthy of knowing you personally then understand that work is work and play is play because you will eventually butt heads within or outside the office.