Sunken Ships is a Zikoko series that explores the how and why of the end of all relationships — familial, romantic or just good old friendships.
The subject of this Sunken Ships, Alex*, talks to us about having a work wife, Shalom*, and navigating the job now that she and Alex no longer work together.
When did you meet this person?
Alex: I met Shalom in October 2020. We got hired at the same time and in our second week in the office we decided to meet in person.
Initially, I thought she didn’t like me for some reason, but when we met that day, she was much friendlier than I thought.
Was that when you got closer?
Alex: Not really. It wasn’t until one Friday, about a week or so after we met that she called me to get to know me. We hit it off immediately. At that point, I realised that if she had asked me to do all her work for her I would have.
I’m a very private person, but we followed each other on all the social media platforms. We liked the same books, I liked talking to her and I thought she was funny and brilliant. It made sense to follow each other everywhere. Over time, I started to send her funny TikToks. I never shut up about her and everyone in my life was tired of hearing about this person. I won’t lie.
It dawned on me that I loved her in a friend way when I made her a playlist. I don’t just make anyone playlists. There have been so many great moments in her presence and I have so much love for her that if at any point we stop being friends I’ll always root for her and I know she’ll be rooting right back.
That’s so cute. What was working with her like?
Alex: Well, we worked remotely, but working with her meant feeling seen. She understood what I struggled with because she was struggling with it too. I looked forward to going to the office on the days we had to because she’d be there and I’d feel less alone.
She’s also more outgoing than me, so she made sure to include me in activities I’d have normally shied away from. Hell, I want to say she made me more productive. With her there, I actually wanted to get my work done. Working with her was great and she made work more fun.
How did you feel when she told you she was leaving?
Alex: Conflicted. She wasn’t always very happy there and I wanted better for her but I also knew I was going to miss her. I felt so sad for the longest time because we were a team of two and I already felt alone and hidden in my office. With her gone, it’d be worse.
I think at first I was distant because I worried about things changing between us, but we just went right back to talking after like it didn’t happen.
When she left, it meant I had to do the work of two people alone and no one saw it as a problem until I pointed it out. It increased my workload and made me tired out, but that’s about it. I still have her in my life.
Damn. Do you miss working with her?
Alex: So much. She made work feel less than a job. She had the most original ideas and encouraged mine no matter how ridiculous. She also spoke up a lot in situations where other people were silent and I always admired that. Plus, she looked so fly all the time. A fine woman 100%.
Do you think you’re as close as you used to be?
Alex: I don’t think so but it’s just because we don’t work on the same office clock. I used to spend more time in my day talking to her about work and then about our personal lives. I no longer see her as often.
We still talk, send tweets, have long phone calls and send Tiktoks to one another. She’s my babe for life. I’d like to deliberately make time to plan a physical hang-out because she is one of the best people in my life right now.
Do you want her to come back?
Alex: No honestly, but I will love to work with her again someday.