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.
3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk”
I’ve done both depending on the workplace. In some cases, I kept my reserve and didn’t make friends in the workplace. What is ironic about this is that after I left the workplace I became lifelong friends with many of these same people.
As an expat, it’s a different story. We know so few people and don’t have a lot of time to socialize if we’re working full time. In this case, I’ve allowed myself to get closer to some of my work colleagues and became friends. But even here I’m very cautious.
Like you, I’ve been burned in the past and I simply don’t trust coworkers to not use personal information against me. It’s sad, but a fact of life for me.
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I feel just like Doris.
Being an introvert it was not too difficult to be cautious and guarded about sharing personal information with colleagues. The thing is that it makes it hard to make friends when you’re too guarded.
I’ve been lucky I guess and have made a few very good friends in my career and they never turned against me.
Good luck for your submission and I hope that you will be able to let some of that go with all the writing to do.
Thanks for your input and good wishes Simone. I have pretty much let all of that old stuff go and writing has helped. It’s still amazing to me that things took that turn so long ago. In ensuing years I have had greater betrayals—mostly family related. Always something to work through it seems. Hope all is well with you.