It’s been a while since my last posting as I’ve been working diligently on submissions to literary agencies and publishers for my book Nine Years in Bangkok: Lessons Learned. Now it’s time to play the waiting game. In the meantime, I will continue to share my lessons learned during those pivotal nine years. I’m hoping that my blog readers, in turn, will share their opinions and experiences as they relate to these lessons.
At the end of Chapter 4 – The Care Package one lesson on my list states: Don’t share confidential information or feelings with people at work. The origin of this lesson arose from advice given by my husband, who had been in management positions for many years. He cautioned me about making close friendships in the workplace after I was appointed head of the drama department–as a supervisor it would be advisable to keep my distance.
Unfortunately, I didn’t abide by his wise counsel. A colleague in my department sought my sympathetic ear in both professional and personal matters. We developed a close bond and, as she trusted me with her private feelings, I came to trust her with mine. For a very long time (much longer than was prudent) I considered her a loyal friend.
What a mistake that turned out to be! My transparency, my trust, my naivety–all blew up in my face. All these years later I can still feel the negative impact of my misplaced judgement. Living as an expatriate in a foreign culture can lead us into unlikely friendships as we seek out those we perceive to be compatible souls. But I should have been more careful. I should have heeded my husband’s warning.
So what do you think dear readers? Should we shun all personal relationships in the workplace in order to sustain our professional status? Or does this apply only to those in supervisory or management positions? Have you ever made this mistake? Have you ever lived overseas and felt the need to seek out friendships with unlikely recipients? What is your story? I look forward to hearing from you.