Frolleague = Friend + Colleague; or a Colleague that has become your Friend.
When you’re job-hunting, all you’re probably thinking about is the paycheque and the job perks. You most likely are not thinking about potential frolleagues. I mean, you are not going to pick a job based on the people you’ll probably spend the most time with. 9 hours a day? 40 hours a week. Approx. 1600 hours a year. You are there to work, not make friends. Right? Wrong!
When you say you’re a Data Analyst or a Restructuring Lawyer, your real friends just nod and say ‘Oh that sounds exciting’. Only your frolleague knows the shitty bits of the job and how bad the cafeteria food is. They really understand.
So yes. You need a Frolleague.
And now, my best Frolleague is leaving me.
Life really does happen in circles. So I was working as a Lawyer in Lagos when a new intern joined the firm. She was an ‘IJGB’ in Nigeria on holiday. We shared a corner and had a few laughs. I was the ‘Oldie’, She the Intern. I sort of showed her the ropes. She couldn’t understand how people ate a full plate of Jollof Rice, Fried Rice, Plantain, Moi-Moi, Chicken and Beef for lunch. She asked me how they didn’t fall asleep at their desk.
I caught a few guys staring at her occasionally. Ehm… understandably so, as they often starred from behind.
We talked about salaries of entry-level graduates in Nigeria, and if she were having a drink at that time, she’d have choked. You see, she had just gotten an offer with the biggest law firm in the world, and was considering whether or not to accept it. Our conversation left her no choice. She bade us farewell and went back to England. We sent a few emails back and forth. Hi Hi kind of emails.
I found myself in England for my LL.M and decided to explore the job market. She gave me a few tips. I applied to that law firm. I mentioned her name in my interview. You know how you drop that line ‘Oh my very good friend works here, and she’s had the best things to say about this place’. I got the job. I emailed her. We screamed. Our friendship began. My start date was in two years. Yes, City law firms in London hire fresh graduates two years in advance.
In March 2015, I resumed at the office. She was now the ‘Oldie’ and I the ‘Newbie’. We saw. We hugged. Our Frolleague relationship had officially begun.
Today, it officially ends. But it may be just for a while. We may become frolleagues again. Who knows?
So N, thank you for all the great times we’ve had in and out of the office. In particular, thank you:
-For all your help with sorting my wedding shoes and a second dress at the last minute.
-For letting me know the correct pronunciation is Tai not Thai (Restaurant).
-For making me try Sushi. I can’t believe I’m getting to like it.
-For trying to make me ‘fit fam’. I may now understand having ‘salad’ and tomato soup for lunch, and I’ve signed up for the Gym. Now all I have to do is actually attend.
-For playing Cupid and helping Tee organise my 26th Birthday Party, and bursting some major dance moves.
-For letting me borrow your make-up the numerous times I left mine at home
-For trying to convince me that a good ‘designer‘ handbag is a need. I believe you, darling. Just waiting for my bank account to believe you too.
-For the unending hilarious stories about your mum. You know you have to set up a meeting when I’m in Lagos.
-For trying to improve my music streak – sending me Bey and Rihanna’s hits. I’m hopeless, and I don’t think I’ll pay to attend a Bey concert. Sorry!
-For understanding those Igbo and Nigerian ‘Lingua’ expressions.
-For the long office lunches, coffee breaks, Lync conversations and office rants.
It’ll definitely feel different around this place.
I won’t be able to reach you on ext. 1024 any more, and it’s a good thing they are jazzing up the lunch area because I couldn’t sit on those red couches without remembering our lunch dates.
PS: I know you still don’t like the fact that I have that blinking light on my office phone which shows I have 10 unread messages. I promise I’ll sort that out. Now you have to promise me that you won’t often forget your work clothes at home when you go to the gym. In Lagos, there are no high street shops around the corner to pop into and buy new clothes.
Do you guys think Frolleagues are necessary? Do you have any? How will you feel if they left? Please Share!