April 13, 2005

For someone of my age, who works in a very demanding job, has a wife and 2 yr old child, and tries to get some time to myself, making friends is not easy.

It seems that the modern workplace has developed into a substitute for the friendships we all used to have outside the workplace. We are able to bond with our co-workers, but only so far. On occasion, however, we can push those boundaries and develop a real sincere friendship with another. Even then, however, the impact of a work friendship on others has to be carefully considered. Sometimes we are all boxed in by a world in which having real friends is seen as a distraction.

Friends are important. As much as we all get from our family and our work, we still need more. We need someone with whom to just chat , someone for sharing secrets, someone with whom to discuss the relative strengths of Godzilla v. Mothra. Simple things that help ground us in the larger social fabric and remind us of the essential truth that no one lives alone.

I am fortunate that I have made new friends as time passes (and as some friends fade into history). Some of these people became fast friends because there was some immediate connection. Others have taken time, but eventually became someone important in my life. All of these people bring something unique to how I view the world.

When I am feeling down I sometimes tell my wife that “I have no friends.” She then rattles off a list of the friends I have and I am forced to acknowledge the truth. The truth is I am very fortunate and become more fortunate every day.

So, if you are my friend, thank you.

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One comment

  1. Great insight, Norman. I think at some high-energy tech-culture companies, work accidentally – maybe necessarily to a small extent – becomes somewhat of a “third place” for us. I know a little about the Microsoft culture and find it very similar to Apple’s, and to that of Motorola and Boeing although to a somewhat lesser extent.

    When we’re working hard, and there’s an expectation of high performance, many of us put in the long hours that preclude a traditional or regular “third place”. The places I’ve been on the Microsoft campus are all pretty nice – nicely built, nicely designed, nicely appointed/decorates. They’re comfortable places that people don’t mind hanging out in while they’re toiling. If the surroundings are that nice, and when you’re doing team-based work, some of the social diversion and satisfaction a third place would offer are found at the same place you work. Maybe in some companies, a 2.5 space develops…

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