The Cork Board

Pondering on getting to know your work colleagues

I type with a day and half left on my short term contract in my latest job. I have been here for just over 3 months and it has moved from an initial stress level ( as you would expect for new job starting) of 9/10 to one of comfort and understanding. I have more of an idea of what is going on and can now begin to make a wider positive contribution in my role and for the benefit of the organisation …… just as I leave. Oh well, twas ever thus for the Temp. In that, I am content to know that the job enrichment cycle still runs its course.
I view work ie.employment, with a much more relaxed air these days. I have had a career of stress, success and failure, the obstacle course of life and work and have arrived at this point to look back over the landscape with a “phew, made it” air of satisfaction. It is a jungle landscape,  and as I stand on my hilltop, I see misty green fields and trees, broccoli bumps bursting the panorama, and a sense of relief runs through my veins. “We made it, Katnip” .

... Katnip ponders a career in banking ...
… Katnip ponders a career in banking …

Now it is the turn of someone else and hopefully they will make it too. And I can smile my satisfaction that I got through this obstacle course,largely, in one piece. Now I can dip in and out just to keep the grey matter whirring and I gaze paternally on those for whom today’s stress is their overcoat.
I shall miss the guy who sounds like Hugh Grant. Or the chap who’s eatery containers are so numerous as to make his workstation look like a picnic site. The wit and wisdom of the welshman (okay, wit) . The dry edge of “Harry Hill” . The dapper gent with the swagger. “Notebook”. They will all be back on Monday morning to carry on where they left off, shedding their overcoat when they can.
There are thousands of people here, each with their own story, and it is that diversity that is a wonder to me. You can make getting to know your colleagues a trial or you can make it an adventure but I will never forget my experience some years ago.


I had someone working for me. He was a quiet, unassuming, dependable, family man,almost invisible, covering, “rep-style”, a different part of the country. No-one took the time to learn his story! Including me. Then quite by accident I discovered his alter- ego… He was chairman of a major city council in the UK responsible to the electorate for a multi-million pound budget. He had fought elections and won and was in the public eye in his region.
And us, managers focused in our own little worldly overcoat, never thought to ask. He probably had more managerial skills than the rest of us. It taught me not to prejudge and I have viewed my work colleagues differently ever since.
You never know what you don’t know ( thanks, Ronny).

Perhaps Hugh Grant soundalike does voice overs in his spare time. Perhaps picnic man is really a master baker. Perhaps dapper Gent is a part-time model. Maybe “Notebook” carries it like that to stop his arm falling off. Perhaps the whole ensemble is made of metal and sown into his left breast is a powerful magnet and his nipple is a dial switch that he has to keep to a minimum because he keeps leaning towards passing cars……
You never know ………….

2 thoughts on “Pondering on getting to know your work colleagues”

  1. Interesting read. I’ve worked 5 years for my current employer and, working externally for 90% of the time, am often shamed that most people in an office of 40+ know my name but I don’t know theirs. However it does remind me that, whilst around 30 years ago now, I do still remember the personalities at GKN Leeds where we both worked Paul.

    1. I know how you feel, Nigel, it can be difficult when you are out on the road. It’s the old “teacher syndrome” ……. all those kids names to remember and they only have to know one. It’s when they get your’s wrong you’re in trouble, Simon.

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