Larry Appleton had just moved to Chicago for a more private life, away from his large family in Wisconsin. Unfortunately for Larry, but fortunately for all of us, his distant cousin Balki Bartokomous drops in for a visit, which completely shatters the life Larry was seeking. Even though the two are extremely different, Larry lets Balki stay with him long-term as a his roommate and the two develop a rocky friendship. Balki comes from a Mediterranean island called Mypos, is extremely eccentric, and knows very little about America. Simply put, Larry and Balky come from different worlds and learn to co-exist.
Coexisting with your co-workers
Who do you spend more time with, your family or your co-workers? I ask those of you who work from home to kindly not answer this. For the rest of you, I’m almost positive you’re seeing much more of your colleagues at work than your spouse, partner, kids, dog, paper boy, and Oprah. With this much time spent together, we need to find a way to be friends, or at least coexist.
We never know what to expect when meeting co-workers for the first time. Usually, they are nothing like us, they come form a different culture or background, and have their share of annoying quirky behaviors. Even with these obvious differences, sometimes we are able to mesh and make friends with these annoying folks before creating a workplace culture that is unique, fun, and most of all productive. An easy ice breaker for new employees and ones you have been in the trenches with for years is silly gift giving. Try leaving a novelty present from New Easy on someone’s desk for a laugh and an ice breaker. However, in some situations it’s not so easy, and we simply need to find a way to just coexist, because our career depends on it. And my suggestion is?
Become Perfect Strangers
When you realize there are clear and annoying differences between you and a co-worker, make a strong effort to become buddies. Ask that person to go to lunch with you, spend a few minutes at their desk just bullshitting, or even ask them to go to happy hour. Developing a real friendship probably won’t happen, but just including them in your plans can take the business relationship far. At the end of the day, the two of you need to work with each other to be successful, so you owe it to yourself to spend a few annoying hours with this person when necessary.
Who knows, maybe after some lunch time gossip or a few beers at happy hour, the two of you will be performing the ‘Dance of Joy’ together…
Do you have any annoying co-worker stories?
What tactics have you used to befriend, coexist, or just become ‘perfect strangers’ with colleagues?
Want to do the ‘Dance of Joy’ with me?
Let me know, Corn Heads!