A colleague of mine had her retirement dinner and celebration last week. After quickly reviewing some dates, I realize that she started working at the college just as I was starting high school.
She is a career planning advocate, and we’ve bounced a lot of ideas off of each other as we’ve both taught the same online career planning class for the college.
In her speech after dinner, she strolled down memory lane starting with her cross country move to California. I was particular intrigued when she advised all of us to make sure that we go out and have fun outside of work. She said that when she first worked at the college, a senior colleague invited her to a party where there were other co-workers. She was grateful for this kind gesture, and she expressed how wonderful it was to go to work where there was a family type of atmosphere.
If I had more free time outside of work, I’d likely invite my colleagues to meet up outside of work, but like most of my colleagues when we’re away from the office, I already have quite the established routine and schedule. And if I thought about trying to meet up with any of my colleagues outside of work these days, I know that it would be quite the challenge to set a convenient day and time where we would all be available.
On a somewhat related note, I remember asking the following question to the students in my career planning class earlier this academic quarter:
When at work, how many of us would prefer to be good, personal friends with our co-workers versus having a strictly professional relationship with them?
Among the half dozen students who shared their thoughts, the responses were split roughly in half. I think the rest didn’t have a particular preference for one way or the other. And even when I try to think about my answer, I go back and forth.
One thing I’ll continue to be mindful of is doing my best to welcome new colleagues who join our division. Though instead of an invitation to a house party, it might just be an invitation to lunch. 🙂