Do you socialise with colleagues outside of work?
I moved 5 hours from my family for the job I am currently in. I knew nobody in the town I moved to, except for a long-lost family friend who was nursing at the local hospital.
5 years on, I am engaged to a local guy. He’s a teacher at a different school. Let’s just say that if I hadn’t have socialised with my colleagues outside of work hours, I wouldn’t have met him.
Despite this success, I’m not sure if it’s healthy to socialise with the people I work with outside of hours. As I am typing this, I am counting the number of friends I have locally who are not my colleagues…and I can count them on one hand.
I mean, I’ve met people. I’ve been on 3 netball teams and a regular yoga class. They’re just not people I would call on a Saturday afternoon and ask to come and walk my dog with me while having a chat.
A lot of my friends are teachers. Teachers at the same school as me, at other schools in the area, or friends that I’ve had since uni. When we get together, the tendency seems to be to talk about school. I don’t actually mind talking about school – my students and the actual teaching.
What I do mind though, is the negative attitude people have towards school, that they feel they need to pass around and infect on the people around them. Yes, I’ve been guilty of this myself, I know. The thing is, if I stopped hanging around my colleagues, I wouldn’t be able to moan and whine about teaching. Better still, I wouldn’t have to listen to them carry on about how much they hate Mr Maths, or Miss Humanities. Or how Mr History needs a bigger belt for his pants…or bigger pants. Or how Mrs Administration’s new haircut makes her look 20 years older.
I’ve made a few changes. There are certain colleagues I refuse to spend time with outside of work. I can act collegial towards them at work, but once 4pm on a Friday comes, there is no chance I will willingly spend my time in their company. I feel it would be detrimental to my own health.
Their words are what I’m avoiding, but it’s my actions which are doing the talking.