For hump day last week, one of my co-workers had a spa party. In desperate need of some QT (quiet time) and a pre-game spot before heading off to trivia at Kennedy’s Premium Bar & Grill
in Elizabeth, I grabbed a bottle of wine from the gas station and headed on over to her place.
Five hours later, at close to midnight, I am sitting on the patio in deep political conversation with the last co-worker standing — everyone else was smart enough to think about how quickly 8:30 a.m. was going to come. Even though he’s one of my most favorite humans, we are total opposites in so many ways. And yet somehow, we managed to get through an entire convo about Obama, the confederate flag and fiscal policy with a smile on our faces. And though I knew a hangover was in the works, knowing I wouldn’t be the only one at least gave me a silver lining.
Sure enough, the next morning after contemplating not brushing my teeth — because I was worried the smallest gag could set me on an hour long session hugging the toilet — I walked past all of my coworkers seen the night before giving them the biggest side-eye.
Shortly thereafter, I posted a Facebook video labeled “When I Wake Up Still Drunk”
with a little boy with bedhead screaming at the top of his lungs. I tagged every single one of my coworkers and declared — “I’m seriously done.” By “done,” I was referring to drinking with them during the week, only to be asked several times throughout the remainder of the day, “Wanna head to AA5 later?” You would think we’ve known each other forever.
As young professionals, — some of us fresh out of college and others of us veterans in the game — navigating the workplace while having fun can be challenging. For one — let’s be honest — getting along with everyone isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Especially when you have to see these people for a minimum of 40 hours a week. Or if you’re in my predicament, if your drinking habits are anything like my co-workers and I, practicing self-control during an after-work activity can be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do.
Whether you’re brand new at a job, figured out you hate everyone or love your co-workers so much that FOMO (fear of missing out) is an everyday occurrence, keep the following in mind:
1. Don’t judge a book by its cover
. It’s okay not to love every single person you meet. Some of my coworkers took months for me to grow into appreciating, but once they did I couldn’t get enough. And along the same lines, just because one might not look like someone you’d normally hang out with, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them.
2. “A (wo)man that has friends, must show (her)himself friendly.”
A Bible verse that my mom had printed on souvenir cups at one of my birthdays. Listen, RBF (resting bitch face) does NOT make friends — at least, not easily. Yes, making new friends can be overwhelming, but do yourself a favor — fix your face.
3. Take your time.
When I first started working at my previous job, as well as this one, I would lie about having social media. These people knew nothing about me and I didn’t want them to judge me before they got to know me. While everyone has a right to be guarded, don’t close off opportunities for someone to get to know you. Soon, you’ll be able figure out who your core group of friends will be both at work and at play.
4. Happy Hour is a must.
Even if everyone doesn’t drink, planning activities outside of work takes the pressure of deadlines and friendly competition off the table. In this environment, you open the door for your co-workers to get to know a side of you they may not have seen in the office. Of course, almost all of my co-workers are rockstar unicorns like myself, so I catch more hell for not engaging in after-work drink festivities then I do for not going to lunch.
Work doesn’t have to suck all the time. In fact, my co-workers are the reason I make an effort to get to work every day. I’m not saying this group of people has to become your BFFs but with the majority of your life now (gah, it sucks to think about it that way) being spent at your place of employment, getting to know the people around you might make being a slave to the paycheck worth it.
Share your co-worker successes (or fails) with me, I’d love to hear how everyone else is passing the time at their, “9-to-5 just to stay alive!” #iminlovewithmycocos (adapted from “Coco”
by O.T. Genasis)