Shared Table, Shared Lives

Astha invited me the other day to comment on her blog entry about office space, teamwork, and organization development. Much appreciated!

When we go to work, we share a space and a lunch table with co-workers, but we share so much more with the people at work. More than we know.

Many years ago, I was once suddenly "let go" by an employer. I heard later from some former co-workers that they felt very strong emotions as a result of that termination:

"It was like a drive-by shooting."

"I felt like a member of my family had died."

Though we do not know these co-workers as well as we know our family, relatives or our close friends, nevertheless we are still bound up with them in a relationship that can be very long-lasting.

This Summer, I hosted a back-yard barbecue for some co-workers that I had not seen in twenty years. Though we had all moved on and had other experiences at other companies, when we gathered in my yard it was like old times.

What is it that we share with co-workers, even the ones we don't like or don't get along with?

In part, I think it's a shared experience. Something we all went through together that marked us as members with a common bond. It will always be there.

In my last job, due to a takeover, the entire HR department (save for one lone survivor) was eliminated. The other night, a remnant of the group got together for dinner at an Italian restaurant near where we used to work. We had a great time, not only reminiscing about the past, but talking about our futures.

We are no longer co-workers, but we are still linked. We still care about each other.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 10/25/06

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