Monday, 2 November 2015

Can work colleagues be your friends?

I started my professional journey in 1997 when I joined the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, India; now called the Taj Palace and Tower.  It was my first job and how a 21 years old would take it, I am sure anyone can imagine. I was super excited and carried enormous dreams and aspirations for a fulfilling career.  That’s what I wanted from the job…. A satisfying and fulfilling career!

Today when I look back, I guess that’s how it has been... 18 years and counting. To me work place has always been sacred. I had seen how the older colleagues especially the ones in the ranks, at the Taj would enter the work place,  as if it was some temple! It would bring a few smiles then but now I understand their sentiments.
My peers and colleagues inspire me.
~Robin Chase
An individual spends more waking hours at workplace and with colleagues than at home and with his own family. A job provides for the financial stability and gives the power to an individual to be in control of his life and provide for his loved ones. Everyone who is on a job works just for this. If not everyone at least the majority, is there to fulfill this. That's on one hand, on the other , in the personal or the emotional front, (after all we are all humans and have that side to us!) we look for much more in work colleagues... friends is the least of that all. We are comrades, united by common Vision and Mission of the organisation. Also working towards the same goal which is the goal the organisation to be steered to achieve. Once that everyone is on target and meet the common goal, its win- win for all. Both on personal and professional front. 

To me my work place has been the second home and work colleagues my extended family. Always took them like that. I am on my third work assignment,  worked with 3 different organisations. Each having a great place in my mind, thoughts and surely in my heart too. Today if I wish to go back to the organisations that I was once a part of, it'll be a pleasant experience for me and I can say for sure that the organisations will welcome me with open arms. The functions that I still get invited to by them is an indication of the same. I always try my best to honour the invites whenever possible. Each organisation has helped me immensely in making the person that I am today. I shall always be grateful!

I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
At Taj I learnt a lot, really, tricks of the hospitality trade, at IHM Mumbai my second assignment fulfilled my desire to embark on a journey of a teacher/ trainer. I enjoyed it and continue to do so. In my present role at the Apeejay Institute of Hospitality; I do what I really love, the best of hospitality education and hotel training. On one hand there are students who are preparing themselves for the roles they'd occupy in the industry and on the other there are professionals right from top management down. Its exciting and involves a lot of learning too. I have made some great friends at work place,  friendships that'll stay life long. 
We have such emotional connect with the workplace, its certainly not the pay check at the end of the month. Initial years that may matter but not after spending years working.

The organisation's culture does play a very important role. The workplace should nurture the employees the same way the employee puts in his or her best efforts. The atmosphere should be friendly, non threatening, caring, that has scope for disagreements and a platform to vent.  This helps in fulfilling the organisations goals together. The walls, office cubicles and the central cooling doesn't make an organisation.... its the people! And the very same people are responsible for cultivating the organisations culture. Some organisations have great work culture and happy employees creating great employee and customer engagements. They are great brands to associate with. Everyone wants to work for them. At times personal jealousy, narrow mindedness and lack of empathy can lead to adverse or negative organisational culture. Once we allow such things to breed, its very difficult to clear the unwanted and undesirable mess. When so many people from diverse backgrounds work together there are bound to be differences of opinions. There should be a good mechanism to address and solve them. 
Each individual should want a solution and each should have a heart big enough to apologise. "Sorry" is certainly a magic word that can set a lot of things straight. But it also needs a lot of courage and strength of character to say so.  Only people who do not have bloated egos can do that, it's difficult for petty thinking individuals to ever even attempt it. They will always look for opportunities to put others in  bad light and try and focus all the lime light on them. But does this really work?..... To each their own!

It may work or may not. But does winning like this look like a victory at all? It doesn't. Work colleagues have much bigger roles to play, roles that are not mentioned in their job descriptions and are not a part of their KRAs. Roles of being friends, making the workplace fun and exciting, creating happy atmosphere, being a guide, mentor or a role model to the juniors, stepping in for colleagues and helping the organisation to become strong. Afterall being an employee is only a small part of an individual. He or she is much bigger 'Human Resource'! 

Rightly said by Josie Loren, 
"God has blessed me with an amazing family, friends and work colleagues that have been my joy, my support, and my sanity. I don't know what I'd do without them".

PS: Pictures are taken from Google for illustrations, with due credits, if anyone has any objection, kindly let me know they'll be removed promptly.