Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Getting Too Comfortable At Work

I think it’s important to maintain some distance between myself and my co-workers. Not until I’m at a job in an office where I know I’ll be for 10 or so years will I set up shop and try to make friends. In order to maintain professionalism and to not have people in my business, I try to keep those boundaries.

I think I’ve been getting too comfortable lately. Here are some signs:

  1. Helping a co-worker pick out an engagement ring.
  2. Offering to cook dinner for everyone one night next week.
  3. Actually knowing everyone’s name.
  4. Having more than 4 cell numbers in my phone of co-workers.
  5. Knowing details about more than 3 people’s breakups/divorces.
  6. Having people know how to pronounce my real name.

That last one is the biggest sign. I go by CeCe at work because my real name is too hard to remember how to pronounce and spell. We deal with a lot of people of all races and languages of origin. Half the time, it’s over e-mail and pager. So to save everyone a lot of heartache, I’m just CeCe.

There are a couple co-workers who’ve felt that we’re close enough that they need to know my real name. As long as they aren’t shouting it out in front of other co-workers who will then want to know, I suppose it’s okay. But the number of people who know my real name is creeping up a little high for my taste. I can’t exactly stop telling people who ask though. That would be rude as hell.

I happen to be terrible with names, so the fact that I know everyone’s name is disconcerting. Our high turnover has been slowing, so it’s all the same people now. With only 2-4 new people coming in every six weeks, names are just easier to remember. Faces start to look different. It’s weird for me to see someone I haven’t seen in a month and I still know who they are.

When I bring in food from home, people always want to know what wonderful thing I’ve made. The hamburger stuffed with mozzarella and topped with sharp cheddar really got them going. Next thing I know, I was offering to take up a collection and menu suggestions and make dinner for everyone. I don’t know where that came from. I hope they don’t hold me to it. I shouldn’t have suggested it.

No one I’ve ever cooked for in the last 18 months has gone away from my life. It’s like I put catch-a-friend seasoning in my food. I’ve got to be careful if they do remember. But if I leave it to someone else to plan, I should be alright.

I really do like a couple people at my job. It just feels weird to cross that boundary from co-worker to friend. I try not to invest too much into people who are only in my life because of circumstances that have an expiration date, you know?

Who knows, maybe I’ll end up in the wedding of one of these people or something. More likely, I’ll be struggling to remember anyone’s name this time two years from now.

3 responses

  1. I know what you mean by trying to keep work/home separate and trying to keep co-workers at a distance because of turnover and for other reasons. I was really good at that for 2 years at my work and then the turnover rate slowed down, and I ended up having a few close friends from my work. I think that is really nice of you to bring in food to work for your co-workers but I understand also wanting to distance yourself too.

    July 29, 2012 at 15:12

  2. Easy

    I think it’s awesome that you are starting to loosen up @ work 🙂
    Building up relations in the workplace can be fascinating, especially if you are thinking if staying in this field long term. Those personal bonds can help professionally in the future if your co-workers also stay in the field.

    July 29, 2012 at 21:57

    • Yeah, well my co-workers really only matter if they’ll be my co-workers for years and years.

      August 1, 2012 at 01:59