LaughLines: Co-workers Are a Lot of Work

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I recently made a career change and for the first time in my professional life, I don’t have co-workers.

I’m working as a consultant, so at any given moment, you could say I technically have a few hundred co-workers, but they’re not the real thing.

I’m talking about the people you see every day, who know all about your kids, your hopes, your dreams, and the latest fight with your husband. They’re the people who compliment you on the weight loss and know enough not to comment on the weight gain. They cover for you when you lose that paperwork, keep you calm in the face of crisis and give you pep talks before your performance reviews. Yes, they have your back and yes, they think you’re brilliant no matter how lame that last idea was.

These are good people, but there are bad co-workers, too. They cover their own butts, rat you out to supervisors, and jam the copiers. They never bring anything edible to the office potlucks and they constantly complain about the temperature (too hot or too cold).

Good versus evil in the office is an old story. Who’s not pulling their weight, who’s taking credit, who’s the boss, who’s bopping the boss – it’s drama, drama, drama, all the time, time, time.

Adding to the reality TV atmosphere are the co-worker sub-categories. You know them well. There are the Incompetents, the Gossips, the Kiss-Ups, and the Sluts (male and female). Don’t forget the Meanies, the Whiners, and the Martyrs. There are co-workers who eat your lunch, whistle while they work, and never, ever contribute to the secretary’s birthday gift. And don’t get me started on all the Girl Scout cookies and fundraiser chocolate bars I ponied up for.

I’ve had female co-workers with mustaches, and male co-workers who favored eye-liner. I once had a female co-worker who turned into a male co-worker in a matter of weeks. Gotta admit, she looked better as a he.

I kind of miss all the co-worker drama – the highs, the lows – but I’m better off in short-term relationships with people I barely see and don’t really care about.

Hmm. Working with people I never see and don’t care to. Guess I should ditch the consultant gig and get promoted into upper management. Sounds like my kind of job.

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.

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