August 12, 2009

Has your workplace got cancer?

The workplace can be a place of friendship, support, fun and laughter. I was thinking recently about fun things that used to happen when I worked in a bank. We would:
*play cricket after work
*do a Starbucks run to get away for a bit and come back with our huge venti lattes with almond biscotti (turned into an expensive habit!)
*take turns at bringing in lollies we could all scoff (I would deliver some to our mates upstairs)
*go to the big department store sale in our lunch break and rummage through quality discounted lingerie looking for bargains
*send the email jokes around or play practical jokes on each other
*we organized a game of ‘Where’s Wally’ using this huge poster that was part of some training thing. I drew the wee cardboard ‘Where’s Wally’ and he was awesome! The funniest part of this game was the arguing "your cheating" "no I'm not" "stop peeking"!!

On the other side, also during this time there was also:
*Two diagnosis’s of breast cancer
*A suicide
*Marriage splits
*Relationship problems
*Addiction problems
*Huge trouble conceiving a child

So while the first list looks as though no work ever got done (!) the truth was we were spending time together living life as best we could to keep positive, have fun and make sure everyone was smiling regardless of everything going on. It’s great for people to get ‘mental space’ at work if they are having trouble at home, or just have something they need to take their minds off. While there may be personality clashes and other ‘difficulties’ in workplaces, when something like cancer hits, it’s amazing how people can pull together to support each other and the other politics no longer matter. Workplaces can become family, and can be a ‘refuge’ from the sometimes harsh reality of the world. Let’s not take for granted the support our workmates can give us. Let’s also remember to notice how much other stuff is going on in workmates lives. Actually doing work is important but so is the fun and the support – we are human before we are anything else.

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