Frenemies in the Workplace

Dashant and I met at the welfare office. 16 years later we are still friends sans the government assistance. I often reflect on our relationship and ask myself how we have managed to maintain such a lengthy long distance relationship despite lapses in communication and contact, marriage, kids and work loads. But I have not come up with any clever reason or excuse other than it is what it is.

We used to work together at  DreamWeavers, a wedding planning company in Queens, New York.  I was pregnant at the time and she needed a job and like a good friend, I put her on, so to speak. Yet regardless of the fact that I helped get her foot in the door, she never took it for granted. She came to work, did what she had to do and we had fun in the process. At the end of the day, our friendship did not interfere with our professionalism on an otherwise dead-end job. I wish I could say the same for my current place of employment in which the majority possess bachelor’s, master’s and even doctorate degrees.  There is backbiting, gossip, slothfulness, deviance, and frenemies in the workplace.

I act in a supervisory role and directly oversee a department which comprises about 12 people. Of those 12, at least 2 would be considered friends. We have spoken with each other outside of work, have traveled together and one has even visited my home. So I suppose, this explains their on the job attitude towards me. It is my estimation that due to our “off-the-job” relationship, there is an underlying expectation that I will let certain things go on their behalf and/or offer special treatment. Yet that could be further from the truth. I believe in being fair and balanced and operate under the premise that everyone should be treated equally. By the same token, I believe that those whose work performance raises a standard or exceeds expectations, should be rewarded, recognized and revered. Sadly, this is not the case for my two colleagues masquerading as friends.

Admittedly, this is a troublesome matter for me, especially since I took a risk in befriending individuals that I felt shared similar values and ideals with me. There is nothing more miserable than to go to a job everyday and walk on eggshells around people who do not appreciate gainful employment. Sure, I understand that the culture of our society would have us to believe that it is not what you know, but who you know that advances careers. However, my current position was obtained by my own merit, therefore I owe no man nothing but to love him as the good book says.

As I look at my colleagues who grapple and grope for status, make unholy compromises, and form jaded connections, I take pride in my professionalism and the ability to make clear distinctions on what I do for a living and how I live.  Since I do not go to work to be validated, those semi-friends who neither respect my authority or appreciate my friendship must be dealt with accordingly. Therefore, I embrace them as frenemies at the workplace and recognize that Dashants are once in a lifetime encounters as you climb the ladder of success.

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