Colleagues or friends?

As I prepare to start a new chapter in my life, I have been reflecting a lot on the last four years I’ve spent at my current job. I’ve gained a lot of new experiences, got the opportunity to serve on several committees, learned a lot of different writing styles…but most valuable of all, I have made lifelong friends.

I’ve found people, no matter what their status in the hierarchy, have genuinely loved and supported me. They’ve bent over backwards to help me and have always looked out for me. A smile here, a hug there, a word of concern, a nod of approval — they’ve been my family.

I feel blessed to have known such generous, warm and affectionate people to spend eight hours with every day. It’s felt like home.

People say work environment isn’t that big of a deal, but I say it’s one of the most important factors when looking for a job. It’s true, you aren’t going to make friends with everyone, but where there’s professional respect, personal camaraderie will soon follow.

If you don’t have this kind of work environment, here are a few simple steps you can take to change it:

  • Be a teamplayer.
  • Grow and let grow.
  • Take initiative but don’t step on people’s toes.
  • Always be professional.
  • Be conscientious.
  • Be genuine.
  • Be respectful.
  • Don’t just say you care — mean it.

To borrow a much quoted phrase: be the change you want to see.  It won’t happen overnight, but if you’re patient, you’ll soon see people smiling when they see you.

Love the job you do and the people you’re with — there isn’t another fool-proof recipe to making the 9-6 routine an absolute treat.

Here’s a shoutout to all you folks who’ve made the last four years of my life truly enjoyable and memorable. I will miss you!

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