I was working for a company that has offices all over the world. One of the offices that I grew the closest to was the one in India.
We worked and communicated only through, phone calls, and g-talk and WebEx meetings. At first I was so very nervous… to be learning from a co-worker that sits beside me in the next cubicle is one thing, but to learn from someone in a different country, different language, well that was completely different.
Being the person that I am I knew that I wanted to become not just a co-worker but a friend just as I would if they were in the same office space.
At first they were shy, about telling me anything about themselves until I started sharing my family’s happenings over the weekends, and pictures of my kids and grandkids. They started to share pictures of their families and tell me about their Indian holidays and their beliefs. (thank you Facebook) Because we took the time to become friends working together became a bonus. They knew they could depend on me and I could depend on them. We formed a relationship built on trust.
I was so thrilled when they got to come for a visit. I was able to have them to my home and take them around my town and have them meet my family. We learned from each other and had a really fun time.
I think I always knew it, but it was confirmed to me that we are all so much more alike than different. I no longer work with this company but I think of my new friends all the time.
What I know is that a year from now I won’t remember what campaigns I was working on, how much money they were worth, etc… but I will remember the people.
I will remember that reaching out with friendship is a much stronger force than trying to strong arm and control, I will remember that the more we learn about other cultures in the world the better off we will be, I will remember the love they have for their families, I will remember ‘The Festival of Lights’, I will remember trying to say their real names and them laughing at me, I will remember how they sent wedding gifts to my son, I will remember taking them to Chick- fil-a, I will remember looking for gifts for them to take home to their family. I will remember that being a friend is most important because once that is established the rest just seems to fall into place. When you work with your 'friends' you want to do your best, you want that trust to go both ways, you don't worry about the project because you know your 'friend' co-worker has your back. I will remember that being nice wins.