It’s a techie life Society

Friends in the workplace

Anoop Mithran and his friends chatting over a cup of coffee   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Opinions have never been this divided. Some say Technopark is the best place to make friends, especially given the sheer amount of time techies spend in each other’s company. For instance, Nezin Sreekumar, an information security auditor, says: “Personally, I think it’s a great place to make friends. I count myself as one of the lucky ones who have found a really good friend at the workplace. My best buddy, Sudhish, and I work in different buildings on campus – he at Bhavani and myself at Nila – and I may not see or talk to him everyday. But I know that he’ll be there, ready to come to my aid or just to lend an ear when needs be.”

Anoop Mithran, an HR executive says: “I share a healthy friendship with a bunch of my colleagues. We all work in different buildings on campus but make it a point to meet up everyday and always have a jolly time.”

Several others, though, point out that it’s not at all conducive an environment to have lasting friendships. “We all have buddies – too many to count, in fact. And we hang out with them during lunch and tea break. But often they are more acquaintances – the ‘hi- da bye- da’ kinds – rather than genuine friends,” says techie Sharath M. (name changed on request), who has been working in Technopark for eight years now.

His colleague Anjali Sreerangan says: “In the three years I have been working in Technopark as a software engineer, I have found that it’s very difficult to find people who share my wavelength. Because I stay in a hostel nearby, I have friendships with other techies that go beyond the professional. Most of my hostel friends are from different companies, which, again, might not be possible on a campus that does not afford much way for such inter-company interactions. Then again, these friendships were born out of a mutual understanding of the situation rather than anything else – a friend to go to the movies with on days off, a friend to walk to campus with...”

Joshy, who works as a specialist with an MNC, also agrees and says: “It’s like every man is to himself-herself. In Technopark, rarely can we can find one of those deep rooted bonds of the kind we have with school and or college friends, where our families too become a part of the relationship.”

The techies all point to the paucity of time as the main reason for this. “Even if we wanted to, we just don’t have the time to invest in a new friendship. All of us are too caught up with work and afterwards a good majority of us have families to go home to and/or live far away, which does not leave us much time socialise with colleagues or make new friends,” explains Joshy. Sharath chips in: “Most of us have their own little groups at work and it’s very difficult to get a foothold into one, especially if you are a newcomer.”

But almost everyone is of an opinion that some form of friendship and camaraderie is necessary in the workplace.

“Most of us work in teams and it’s necessary for the team members to have a functioning level of friendship with each other. It helps make work more fun, worthwhile, and satisfying,” says Anoop.

Girija Menon, who works as a project lead at an MNC, too says it’s vital to have friendships in the workplace. “I’m a very social person and am friendly with everybody. As we work in such a competitive environment, we each need people who understand the situation we are in and can offer emotional support in times of crisis.”

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 3:03:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/friends-in-the-workplace/article6267854.ece

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