For good or for ill, it’s easy to start thinking of your colleagues as family. After all, you see them every day, at their best and worst, under pressure or over a casual lunch. No wonder, then, that many of us start assuming familial roles. One of the most important of these, according to Meredith Lepore at the Levo League, is the office mom.
And what is an office mom? Lepore quotes The Wall Street Journal’s Katherine Rosman, who writes:
“The office mom is almost always a woman and often slightly older than other colleagues. She might actually be a mother, but not necessarily. A relationship with her is complex like all family relationships tend to be: A younger employee might want to please her professionally, even as she grits her teeth listening to her personal advice.”
If you’re wondering if you are an office mom, ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do you bring in treats for staff?
2. Do you remember everyone’s birthdays?
3. Do you care about the personal welfare of your coworkers, down to worrying about whether your colleagues are cold, or have eaten?
4. Could you pretty much run this place by yourself?
5. Does everyone come to you for advice?
If you answered yes to most of these, you’re probably the office mom, regardless of whether or not you’re female, or older than the rest of the staff. In any case, Rosman and Lepore both characterize the role as a positive one, a sort of one-woman HR department providing the nurturing and organization that’s often otherwise missing at small companies and in open plan offices.
Which is to say, if you are an office mom, your office is pretty lucky to have you.
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