I bumped into a friend the other day. She's been in her job for more than 10 years, but now the company is closing down her branch, and she will probably be redundant. She's looking forward to the pay out, but commented that she will miss the people she works with. The place itself has a high turnover of staff, but there are a few of them who have been there since the beginning, and she's known them all her working life. But she knows that when they're not all trudging into the same office every morning, they probably won't make the effort to stay in touch.
This made me think about my own situation.
Before I had my breakdown, I had been in my job for six years. I had spent a lot of time with these people. Not only did we spend 35+ hours per week together doing a very boring job that encouraged us to all roll our eyes at each other and have that sense of companionship you get when the people much further up the food chain are micromanaging a situation they know nothing about - but we also socialised together. It was a large company, but sociable. There were pub quizzes and other organised events but also just random nights out in the pub. I thought these people were my friends.
When I went bonkers, I know a fair few people were made very uncomfortable by that and jumped ship, but as it is, I think I am probably only still "proper" friends with one or two people I met through my time in that company. The rest were merely colleagues. We had this mutual sharing of spare time because we shared something in common to bitch about.
These days, being self employed, I don't really have any colleagues. Just friends and clients. And all of my clients are lovely because they work with me.
I don't have office politics or a dress code or thinly veiled favouritism or monthly one to ones that happen only on paper, or targets or PDPs or pay rises significant only because of their absence. I don't have to queue at a water cooler or drink awful coffee from one of those terrible machines. If I fancy something to eat I am not limited to whatever I remembered to shove in my hand bag before I left the house or whatever is in the dodgy machine in the break area. I don't have to remember to bring a pass card out of the house with me; I don't have to make polite conversation with people I'd much rather never speak to again. I don't have to put up with the one person in the company with the loudest voice but the lowest IQ telling me everything I've done wrong very loudly.
I reckon that makes me just about one of the luckiest people out there. Happy Monday everyone!