I’ve always been a very sociable person. The agency business is a very sociable industry. I remember as a young pup, working at Fallon, being wowed that people at the office dated, people ended up getting married and working on the same account, people were roommates and the idea of getting together after work for drinks was common place. Yes, there were even some “inappropriate” comments and jokes made after several beers. Colleagues attended each others events, rooted for each other, and genuinely took pleasure in connecting with each other outside of work. There’s was a sense of comradery and a general comfort level with a blurring of the lines. We worked hard and played hard.
Unfortunately, in today’s hyper cover your ass and politically correct world the lines between colleague and friend have become a problem. Have drinks too often with the same person and all of a sudden you’re dating them…and people start talking about you. Go to too nice of a restaurant with a co-worker and you might get scolded because it might be sending the wrong message. It’s a bummer. We’ve evolved from interacting with one another like humans to having to interact with each other like robots.
Recently, it was suggested to me that I de-friend, on facebook, all the people I work with. At first I scoffed at the idea. But, then a few events at the office caused me to change my mind. It’s an unfortunate situation. There are people I work with, that I manage, who I genuinely enjoy spending time with…that I enjoy grabbing a beer with or watching a ball game with. But, now I’ve had to re-evaluate how I’d handle those situations when they arise. It’s a change and an adjustment that I wish I didn’t have to make. But, changing times, a new generation entering the workforce and a focus on mitigating risk have made it a reality.
I’d love to know how you’re handling this new reality, because I’m struggling with how to evolve as the industry is evolving.