Friendly or Hostile?

Today at lunch, I found myself wondering: do I work in a friendly environment, or a hostile environment?

This is a question which has occupied a lot of my time for the last few years.

Where I work, there are lots of strong primary colors and bright tones, like a preschool. The food is very nice, and everything about the environment appears to be set up to make me happy to be there. The stuff they have me work on is interesting and the people are really engaged. This seems pretty friendly.

On the other hand, it’s a corporation, everything I get is payed for by icky nasty advertising, there are a distressing number of business people and other money-first people, a lot of plainly unpleasant corporate politics. This seems pretty hostile.

But… I’m starting to realize I’ve been exaggerating in both directions.

Nobody at my workplace is my friend, or would care all that much if I went away. This isn’t friendly at all.

At the same time, I’m in no danger whatsoever. There are no tigers, there’s no punching, there’s no heroin.

The bright colors, tasty food, business people, unpleasant politics… these are false markers. I’m reading them as extremes when they all fall in a pretty narrow band.

Where I work (indeed every1 place I’ve worked) is just an environment. A decent one, safe and relatively full of opportunities.

How do you feel about your place of work?

(1) I have actually worked at one truly friendly place. The people there cared about each other and about me, and I about them. Many were friends before working together, and most remained friends after the place was torn apart. This… might have set the standard for me wondering about friendly and hostile places. I saw Shangri-La too early 🙂

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