As is the case with most chronic cubicle-dwellers, I quickly learned the value of establishing a work bestie. A work bestie can make you laugh even after your boss schedules a meeting for 4:45 on a Friday. A work bestie is always down for a lunchtime mani/pedi. A work bestie doesn’t hesitate to have coordinated theme outfits for the office holiday party.
At one of my previous jobs, I had TWO work besties. Jackpot! They were super critical to my survival at this particular job; I didn’t love the work I was doing, I didn’t love my micro-managing boss (who literally looked over my shoulder), and the horrific traffic every morning certainly didn’t help matters.
The three of us ate lunch together every day, made impromptu shopping trips and complained about our bosses…it was the life. Then one day, Bestie #1 started dating a man she referred to as “Bighead”. When she found out “Bighead” made six figures, she started calling him by his real name, got engaged and quit as soon as possible (they’re now married with three beautiful children). About two months later, Bestie #2 got into an argument with her boss and had an epiphany. She decided advertising wasn’t the right career path after all; she felt she was called to be a pre-K teacher. I mean, how selfish could she be? Didn’t she know that I would be left with zero work besties?! Oh…I mean, I was proud of her for going after her dream…the children are our future…blah blah blah.
With both of them gone, I had very little to look forward to at work and didn’t last much longer. I secured a position at my current company and it was a much better fit for me, especially after I made a new work bestie.
When I first met…wait, I forgot that I don’t want to use real names without permission…I’ll have to change it to protect her identity. I know! I’ll call her…Fargaret…yes, Fargaret (no one will be able to crack that code). When I first met Fargaret at my current job, I knew by her loud laugh, her loud clothes, and her love of The Golden Girls, that she was work bestie material. We sit directly across from each other and you know what they say…location, location, location!
Over the course of six years, we have perfected the eye-roll/side-eye combo reserved for any little or big annoyance that may occur throughout the day. In fact, these annoyances have become so frequent that the combo is often reduced to a head tilt/blank stare. Translation: “Make it stop!”
One day, a coworker who sits nearby was on speakerphone with another coworker…who ALSO sits nearby. Which meant that everyone within a 10-cubicle radius could hear them both…in stereo. Why, I ask you, why?! If one of them had walked ten feet, they could have just talked face to face. Their echoed conversation was so distracting that I found myself looking for the perfect meme to reflect my irritation.
Which led me to discovering one of my favorite nonverbal signals to Fargaret:
[This picture is the view from Fargaret’s cubicle. SN: Don’t you love my flower garland? A post on my cubicle decorations will come at a later date.]
Whenever someone is complaining too much, loudly clipping their fingernails, spraying really pungent perfume nearby, or doing anything else that I know will make Fargaret and I equally annoyed, I whip it out of its holster (underneath my keyboard). I hold it up because I know Fargaret is going to look my way and know exactly what I’m talking about.
The lessons to be learned from this story?
1) Secure a work bestie immediately…he/she will save your life someday…or every day. Here is a good example (with permission from Fargaret):
2) Find a meme that speaks to your soul
3) Remember speakerphone is a privilege, not a right
4) Noise-canceling headphones are a great gift for a coworker you care about
What’s something you appreciate about your work bestie? Drop a comment below!
– R. Alexandria