Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friends At Work

I had some time off from my current job (vacation) recently and on one of the days I went back and visited some of my former co-workers. We had a lovely lunch and I stayed and visited during part of the work day.

I don't know if it's as common to socialize with your co-workers in other cultures as it is here. In a land where people move around a lot, where families are spread over hundreds, even thousands of miles, it is not unreasonable to expect to form a support system among your co-workers.

I certainly don't always make friends that I want to see outside of work at every job. And many people hold the concept that "if I see them at work that is enough". Yet, like it or not, there is socializing. Whether it's company sponsored gatherings (picnics, banquets, fundraisers) or baby showers, wedding showers, and other life celebrations you will find yourself spending time with co-workers away from the job.

This can be both good and bad. You might discover that someone who is barely tolerable at work is really an interesting person with a fascinating life away from that environment. Or that nice person who seems so easygoing has an obnoxious husband and monster children.

But what happens when you change jobs? Sometimes the ties continue, usually they slowly fade away. Once the last string holding you together was an annual exchange of Christmas cards. Now they are probably just one more Facebook 'friend', their postings blending with all the other daily commentary.

I don't know why I enjoyed going back to visit so much. I genuinely like these women, and enjoy their company. There are people that I work with now that I like, yet it is hard to imagine using a day off to go back and visit them if I left. I do hope that we are able to keep in touch beyond the Christmas card/Facebook strands.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Did We Live Without Them?

I love to read. In fact it is hard for me to go into a bookstore and not spend my entire paycheck. I used to have shelves and shelves of books. Because I liked having them around, and I liked their accessibility if I wanted to check something or learn something about a given subject. Or check a passage in a novel. Going to the library just wasn't as convenient. My questions did not always coincide with their business hours. And I just liked owning the information.

Once I gained regular access to the internet, that lifelong obsession slowly disappeared. I still love books, and love to read. However, with a wealth of information about any given topic at my fingertips, I don't need to own all of those books.

I soon got in the habit of reading magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs on a variety of subjects. I still love to read online news at different sites around the world. However keeping folders with long links to all of these places was always unwieldy. Then Google Reader appeared. Now, I can spend hours clicking through my different sites. I can quickly skim through headlines and short intros and pick and choose what I want to read. I have several hundred subscriptions, many of them bloggers around the world. It is now almost impossible to imagine life without Google Reader.

As far as t.v.--I've always been less addicted than most. I've always had shows that I enjoyed, yet they never seemed to air at a time that was convenient for me. When VCR's appeared I would tape show after show, but not always find time to watch them. About a year ago I learned about Now I can watch countless shows, movies, episodes, and documentaries when I find a convenient time. There are other websites, such as Comedy Central (The Daily Show, Colbert Report) and MSNBC (Olbermann, Maddow) that I can access and watch online. I can watch Congressional debates on C-Span, and comedy clips on YouTube. I find it all incredibly convenient and liberating to have all of this at my fingertips, on demand.

How did we live without them?