I hired Katelyn mid-semester, in October, after supervising 17 student leaders and overseeing a building of 600 first-year women alone for the first few months of my new position. I was frazzled and so incredibly relieved to have a partner. Katelyn’s first impression of me was this: she walked into my office and I said something along the lines of, “Welcome to your first day!… Oh my god, I have to tell you I’m pregnant. I’m a mess. I’m so sorry.” Her eyes expanded to the size of dinner plates and she took a deep breath, then started laughing. I knew then that we were going to be awesome team.
In a way, Katelyn and I could not have more opposite personalities. She’s an enneagram one: the perfectionist. I’m an enneagram seven: the enthusiast. She thrives in order. I thrive in chaos. Her living room looks like a picture from Better Homes and Gardens. My living room looks like an episode of Hoarders. Also, she’s nice and I’m mean. As a hall director team, supervising our staff was always an adventure because we had to maintain consistency, but deep down, they knew she was the good cop. She’s quiet. I’m loud. She guards her feelings. I wear mine on my sleeve.
However, our values and character line up perfectly. We are both grounded in a Christian faith. We married freakishly similar spouses. When we co-supervised a staff, our supervision styles were always in sync. Whenever we watched each others’ kids, no instructions were needed because we knew we parented the same. Working with and being friends with Katelyn has taught me that it’s not about having similar personalities, but similar values and character traits that contribute to a strong professional friendship.
Katelyn and I crossed the bridge from coworkers to friends with ease. Through vulnerability and open communication, we quickly learned how much we can help each other. It was almost strange how similar our professional, personal, and family challenges were and I was so thankful to have her to bounce thoughts off of. Then, when the workday was over, we would spend Saturday mornings in our pajamas, watching the kids destroy each other’s apartments. We always talk about maintaining a healthy work-live balance in this career, but it’s not a balancing act, it’s learning how to intertwine the personal and professional in a healthy way. Being genuine friends at work helped us both not only find that stable flow, but continue to maintain it as well.
I took a new job this summer and we now live thousands of miles away, but we stay connected through late-night phone calls and an occasional facetime call to gawk over each other’s adorable children. Katelyn and I work well marvelously as a professional team. More importantly though, Katelyn inspires me to be a better person. That’s how you know you’ve hit the work bestie jackpot.
Here’s to the dream of working alongside each other again in the future, Katelyn! Your friendship is a gift.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Marsha Herman-Betzen on A Story of a Life in SA