There are better approaches than just having no friends at work

    We get articles like this because we live in a world inescapably tied to neoliberalism and hierarchical ways of organising work. I’m sure the advice to “not make friends at work” is stellar survival advice in a large company, but it’s not the best way to ensure human flourishing.

    I’ve definitely been burned by relationships at work, especially earlier in my career when managers use the ‘family’ metaphor. Thankfully, there’s a better way: own your own business with your friends! Then you can bring your full self to work, which is much like having your cake and eating it, too.

    Image created by DALL-E 3 with the prompt: "An image illustrating the concept of maintaining clear boundaries at work. The scene shows a professional office environment where individuals of diverse backgrounds interact with respect and professionalism. A distinct physical separation, like a glass wall or a clear line on the floor, symbolizes the clear boundaries between personal and professional lives. The environment conveys a sense of order, efficiency, and a healthy work-life balance, emphasizing the importance of keeping these aspects distinct."
    Real friends are people you can be yourself around and with whom you can show up being who you truly are—no editing needed. They are folks with whom you have developed a deep relationship over time that is mutual and flows in two ways. You are there for them and they are there for you. There is trust built.

    At work, this relationship becomes very, very complex. Instead of being a true friendship, what ends up happening is that the socio-economic realities of your workplace come into play—and most often that poisons the well. When money is involved, it clouds any potential friendship. It makes the lines so blurry between real and contrived friendships that the waters become too murky to make clear and meaningful relationships. Is that a real friend, or do they want something from me that benefits them? Who can you really trust at work and what happens if they violate your trust? Is my boss really my friend or are they just trying to get me to work harder/longer/faster?

    If, instead, we keep clear boundaries at work, we never fall into the trap of worrying about whom to trust and who has our best interest in mind. It prevents us from transferring our best interests to anyone else simply because we assume they are our friends. Why give that amazing power to someone else at work only to be disappointed?

    Worse yet, people will often confuse co-workers with family, falling into the trap of having a “work mom,” “work dad,” or even a “work husband” or “work wife.” This can lead to a number of disastrous results that are well-documented, as family is not the same as work, and confusing the two has long-lasting ramifications that can stifle career success and lead to unethical behaviour. Keeping boundaries clear and your work life separate from your private life will help to alleviate this potential downfall and keep you focused on what really matters: the work.

    Source: Why You Shouldn’t Make Friends at Work | Psychology Today Canada

    Image: DALL-E 3


    Don’t just hold back, take the time to pass it on

    I have thoughts, but don’t have anything useful to say publicly about this. So instead I’m going to just link to another article by Tim Bray who is himself a middle-aged cis white guy. It would seem that we, collectively, need to step back and STFU.

    The reason I am so annoyed is because ingrained male privilege should, really, be a solved problem by now. After all, dealing with men who take up space costs time and money and gets in the way of doing other, more important work. And it is also very, very boring. There is so much other change — so much productive activity — that is stopped because so many people are working around men who are not only comfortable standing in the way but are blithely bringing along their friends to stand next to them.


    Anyone who follows me on any social media platform will know I’m currently kneedeep in producing a conference. Because we’re doing it quickly and want to give a platform to as many voices as possible, we’re doing an open call for proposals. We’ve tried (and perhaps we’ve failed, but we’ve tried) to position this event as one aimed at campaigners and activists in the digital rights and social sector. The reason we’re doing that is because those voices are being actively minimised by the UK government (this is a topic for another post/long walk in the park while shouting), and rather than just complaining about it, we’re working round the clock to try and make a platform where some other voices can be heard.

    Now, perhaps we should have also put PRIVILEGED WHITE MEN WITH INSTITUTIONAL AND CORPORATE JOBS, PLEASE HOLD BACK in bold caps at the top of the open call page, but we didn’t, so that’s my bad, so I’m going to say it here instead. And I’m going to go one further and say, that if you’re a privileged white man, then the next time you see a great opportunity, don’t just hold back, take the time to pass it on.


    So, if you’ve got to the end of this, perhaps you can spend 10 minutes today passing an opportunity on to someone else. And, in case you were wondering, you definitely don’t need to email me to tell me you’ve done it.

    Source: Privileged white guys, let others through! | Just enough internet

    Image: Unsplash

    Walking 1,000 miles across Europe

    As I know from personal experience, walking a long way by yourself is hard work, both mentally and physically. As this article points out, doing so as a woman is even harder, so good on Lea Page for not only walking a thousand miles across Europe, but writing about how the biggest danger is… men.

    When I walk alone, the consequences of every good or bad choice I make fall entirely on me: a responsibility and a freedom. As a woman and a mother, I rarely only have to consider what I want and need without having to first attend to other people. I know there are risks, but each time I come out of that “forest”, I feel stronger and more confident. Weighed against the simple daily rhythms of a long-distance walk and the joy and wonder I experience, risk – reasonable risk – becomes a small part of the equation, and one I am willing to accept.


    One other time, while walking along a river just outside Colle di Val D’Elsa in Tuscany, I felt that familiar clench of panic. This river, a glacial robin’s-egg blue, meandered and tumbled gently. The gorge was not deep, but a lonely wooded path just outside a city struck me as the perfect place for an ambush. Clearly, men exist everywhere, so it made no sense to be frightened in that one particular place. I knew that, statistically, women are safer out in the world than they are at home, but in that moment, knowledge felt like thin protection. Unable to shake my feelings of dread, I called my husband, and we talked about inconsequential things so I could hear his sleepy voice and keep putting one foot in front of another.

    And that’s what women are really talking about when we talk about being afraid. We are talking about men. But there is, I learned, a difference between being afraid and being unsafe.

    Source: I walked 1,000 miles alone through Europe – and learned that fear is the price of freedom | The Guardian