This is Ice Breakers, where we’re ditching two truths and a lie and taking a look at what it really means to have friends at work. Through anonymous interviews, we're asking people how they introduce themselves (or don’t) to the person at the next desk or across the office—and what those relationships actually look like.
Today, we’re talking to a 26-year-old Associate Editor at HarperCollins in New York, NY. Although she loves her colleagues, this editor makes a point to find activities and circles of friends outside of her work community—including a dodgeball league.
Forgetting your job, how would describe yourself in three words?
Ooh, you’re asking me soul-searching questions. I am very curious. I like knowing a wide variety of people and kind of hanging out and having different facets of my life. And I’m going to go with alacritous.
Great word! Do you feel like you’re that same person at work?
I’m definitely more professional, quieter. Though the benefit of the kind of work that I do is that I get to bring my personality to the table, and that’s a huge part of what makes editors successful is having their own brand and sense of what kinds of books they work on and who they are.
A lot of my job is actually very social, which is surprising to a lot of people who, when they think about publishing, think about editors reading quietly in armchairs in their offices. We’re up and about and talking to each other constantly.
Of all the people you work with, about how many of them would you consider friends?
Probably like three? Three or four.
What makes those relationships different?
Our relationship isn’t just predicated on work stuff. So I have the people that I’ll go to and talk about things that are going on in my life or who are mentors, but we also share funny videos back and forth all day. And there’s the people who I can go to and vent or we want to go out for lunch or just have more of that social element that doesn’t have to be about a project.
Of those people, is there one of them who you’d consider your “work wife”?
Yeah, I one-hundred percent have a work wife. She is my better half—in every sense. Love her.
Aw, how did you meet?
So, it's an exciting story. I had been there about a year and was honestly feeling pretty isolated because of the way that our desks were set up, and I was definitely the youngest on the team by probably about five years. Then my work wife moved into the cube behind me. She really reached out in a big way that made me feel comfortable sharing more of my personal life with her. And when you sit within three feet of someone every single day for a minimum of eight hours, they know a lot about what's going on in your life. I'm not sure when it became official, but it's definitely a thing.
So, what does your social calendar look like—work and otherwise?
Part of my job is going out with agents, going to author events, going just to be part of the publishing universe. And the other part of my life is my regular life. I play two sports. I go to movies, hang out with my boyfriend, hang out with my friends. Try to just have as much balance in there as I can.
Do you ever do things outside of work with your friends you met at work?
So most of the people that I’m friends with, we’re mostly just friends within the office. My work wife has two young children, so her schedule is very different than mine. But I’ll still go over and hang out with her kids or we’ll all go to the park one day just for fun. Everyone else, we’re pretty much just in the office. As a group, we talk about it a lot actually. We’re like “why don’t we hang out more?” We’re striving to make some changes.
You mentioned that you play two sports—are any of those groups connected to your work?
So I actually don’t overlap with anyone from work in those circles. I even joined them as an effort to get to know different people. I play soccer with a group of people that I met through my roommate, and we’ve all now played together for almost two years, which is kind of insane. But no one really knew each other before—we just joined a social league and now have become soccer friends. And dodgeball is just another group that I joined too. It’s kind of fun to have different pools of people who don’t necessarily overlap with the work part of my life.
I totally get that. Though, sometimes, I like to see where they overlap—it almost feels like that moment when you see your teacher in the grocery store.
That happened to me actually! I ran into a colleague—we were both at the same concert and we ended up standing in line next to each other. It was me and my friend and him and his girlfriend, and we all ended up just standing in line for two hours together because what else are you going to do? You're not going to give up your space in line. So we bonded and now we talk about music which is kind of a good, very funny but slightly awkward moment.
Lastly, what's something that someone wouldn't normally guess about you?
Most people don't know that I played the flute and that was a huge part of my life. I'm very musically oriented.
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