Today I am thankful for colleagues. Colleagues can come in many different variations, from those who are pleasant to those around them to those who are so frigid and distasteful in their behavior that everyone, including the extremely bubbly person who gets along with everyone, avoids them like they were the plague. Some colleagues are single-mindedly focused on their job and advancement in a company, organization, or entity, leaving relatively no time and consideration for those who are toiling along with them. Others are there merely to collect a paycheck or to receive some benefit in exchange for their services, and though they do interact with those who are participating and working with them on occasion, their main focus is to “do their time” and go on with their lives.
No matter the variety of types of colleagues who are present in any jointly participated-in situation or opportunity, they all have at least one thing in common – a unified experience. Though they all experience that unified experience in different ways, from different vantage points, and with different perspectives, they all experience the same situation together.
And to what exactly am I referring when I say “unified experience?” I am so glad that you asked that question. The unified experience to which I am referring is the experience of collaborating and pooling work efforts in the same locale, for a united purpose, at the same time. Each colleague may have a different job that carries with it varying duties, but each job fits together into a single puzzle that yields a unified experience.
And it is this unified experience that makes it possible for colleagues with varying attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, and backgrounds to be able to relate to each other on at least some level despite their obvious (and not so obvious) differences.
This idea of a unified experience is why there have been days when my colleagues and I have gone to each other’s desk, or office, or home and the utterance of a mere sigh (or for some of my colleagues, an epithet) was all that was needed to convey that person’s feelings and state of being regarding that unified experience. And because we all are involved in the same environment, working in some way towards achieving the same ultimate goal, that sigh or epithet conveyed it all and a mutual understanding was tapped into.
Just to be clear, this unified experience is not limited to the job setting. It can be present via a school setting, a marriage, a family, a social group, or even a volunteer organization. Any situation or environment that fosters some sense of collaboration or a jointly participated-in endeavor can yield a unified experience.
I do not get the impression that many of us realize this, and because of that lack of realization we often allow a view of our colleagues as competitors to reign as the dominant view that we hold, when in reality they are people, like you and me, who, though they may be different, participate with us in the same unified experiences. And maybe if we tap into the connections that are established by our unified experiences, we just might realize that we are surrounded by more friends than foes. #lovebythedrop