My Coworkers Are My Friends
I have a dirty little secret. I’m an introvert by nature. My wife would certainly disagree, as would most of my fellow XS coworkers, but it’s true. When I’m left to my own devices I tend to wander off and get lost in my thoughts. I can spend all day on the weekends without ever speaking a word to anyone else. When I’m with my family and my friends I engage with them naturally. Why don’t my coworkers know I am introverted by nature? Because they are my friends.
We have six Core Values that we live by at XS. They are Dream Big, Work Hard, Play Fair, Speak Out, Stay Sharp, and Have Fun. Have Fun is the key for me. It is easy to act on the other Core Values if it is fun to do so. While we are busting our tails, working late, dealing with adversity, or helping others with problems, at XS we are Having Fun at the same time. I personally feel that fun is a big key to productivity. No one wants to go to work at a job or place that they do not enjoy. If you are not Having Fun at your work, you are not as motivated to do the work, and you can never be your best. I have worked at a place that fits that description and it can really wear you down.
It’s not hard to Have Fun at XS. The company provides us with a lot of perks such as coffee and sodas, Breakfast Wednesdays, lunch and learn meetings (is my food theme obvious?), quarterly meeting activities, company golf and Durham Bulls outings, and the occasional beer keg tapping for holidays or other random events. Some might say we are quite spoiled and it would be hard to dispute them.
These are all fun things, but there’s another key ingredient to the successful culture recipe at XS. The principals and managers always go through a careful and thorough interview process to ensure candidates are a good fit with the rest of XS. It is a qualification as important as being technically capable of doing the work.
I tend to get along with everyone if I have to, whether I like them or not. This may not make me the best judge, but it seems everyone who works here likes everyone else. There are no passengers on this train. There is only a company full of rock stars, without the superior attitude that can often come along with it. This has not happened by accident. It is a result of the interview and hiring process where so much emphasis is placed on the candidate being a good cultural fit.
There’s an energy that comes from putting this group of people together, from which everyone can feed. There is always laughter coming from the break room, from almost every meeting, and anywhere two or more people come together. It doesn’t matter what the topic of discussion might be, from the Olympics to the latest difficult code problem to be solved. It will almost always be met with laughter and a “Can do” attitude. You can actually feel the positive energy in the offices. I felt it when I came in to interview and I couldn’t wait to start working here. More than once I’ve told people that I started working at XS with very high expectations and they have all been met or exceeded. I still feel the same way 7 months later. It is a fun place to spend my workdays.
I didn’t know any of the people at XS before I started working here, but it took very little time for my new coworkers to become acquaintances and then friends. It has also taken very little time for employees who have started after me to become acquaintances and then friends. I would gladly hang out with any of my coworkers outside of work. My coworkers are my friends.
Thanks to the carefully developed culture at XS, I am surrounded by the type of people who I want to be friends with. They help to bring out the best in me, and I like to think I can also help bring out the best in them. If you want to Have Fun doing a job, do it with your friends, even if you are an introvert by nature.