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Which do you use to refer to the people who work with you?

  • Coworker

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  • Colleague

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  • Both

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  • Neither

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which do you use to refer to people who work with you? I typically hear "colleague" used in business settings when the speaker may not work for the same company as the other person. "Coworker" is used by everyone from coal miners to fast food workers to bankers. A strict dictionary definition would have both words meaning the same thing.<br><br><br><br>
Does "colleague" sound pretentious to you? Does "coworker" sound too blue-collar?
 

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I'm not sure where I got this impression, but I thought a colleague was someone who worked at the same level as you. Two managers would be colleagues, but a secretary and a manager would be co-workers.<br><br><br><br>
I usually use co-worker, anyway. No one I know in real life uses the word colleague.
 

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I mostly use "colleague" - it seems to be the norm in the scientific professions (such as mine). The meanings are a bit different. Anyone you collaborate with can be a colleage (they don't have to work for the same employer); I see a coworker as someone who's actually working alongside you each day.
 
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i use colleague... but i'm english and i think we're naturally inclined towards being a bit posh and formal, hahaha.<br><br><br><br>
i don't like the word co-worker... it includes the word 'work', for a start, which implies some kind of work actually being done - and who needs reminding there is work to be done, as well as actually having to do it?!... and it sounds a bit... erm... it makes me feel like one of those little green lemmings with miners hats on- a mindless automaton with a small part to play that nobody would really miss if they got blown up randomly.<br><br><br><br>
i found it weird to discover that in Canada, people in lots of jobs don't have 'colleagues' either..... when you're in a store, you'll hear over the intercom/tannoy someone say:<br><br><br><br>
"can we have an associate/team member/team player/*insert other odd word used to make us sound like a happy valued much loved member of a big friendly work community (group hug!!!) here* from the mouldy carrots and cardboard boxes section to the customer help desk please?... customer waiting (this is code for 'haul your arse over here quick-smart', i assume???)"<br><br><br><br>
... i'd hate to work somewhere like this, i'm cynical, but it feels very fake and overly perky (like a bad boob job - no idea why that came into my head... sorry!)... i don't want to feel like i'm being squashed into the 'team player' box (i'm a lousy team player, lol) or like i 'associate' myself (feels like a choose to fratinise with them or something) with the people i work with, or that i associate myself with the company in terms of its values/ethics/ideals/priorities... i want to be around plain old 'colleagues'.
 

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I tend to use Colleague too. Coworker sounds weird to me. I use it from time to time but it doesn't feel right. I also wouldn't refer to some people in my department as coworker or colleague. I guess i just don't refer to them at all lol.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Seusomon</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I see a coworker as someone who's actually working alongside you each day.</div>
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yea me too but if i'm working on a specific project with another scientist (for weeks/months at the same bench etc) i still wouldn't call him/her a coworker. They'd still be a collegue. Seems like it depends on the profession/situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hehe, yeah, "associates" irritates me, too. "Sales rep" makes far more sense to me than "sales associate," but I suppose the "rep" part makes it sound like a traveling gig, not focused in one store.<br><br><br><br>
When I worked for a small, family-owned market, the cashiers would call for "Mop and bucket to Register 3" or "We need a bushel of Jonagolds to Register 1." We weren't called associates or anything else. The owner probably just called the female employees "my property," but he never talked over the PA. I suppose there are much worse things than being an "associate." A piece of ass is one of them.
 

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I use "coworker." I <i>work with</i> the person. They are a coworker. It just makes sense to me.<br><br><br><br>
"Colleague" sounds so silly and stuffy to me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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I voted co-worker, but actually I mostly call them 'friends' since I attach to people very easily! Probably too easily! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I use colleague when refering to other managers at work, and I will use either or 'employees' or 'co-workers' when refering to the people that work for me. Depends on what the context is.
 

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I use both, although as a college faculty member I more often hear my <i>coworkers</i> use the term "colleague." I guess it sounds more academic.
 

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neither. we refer to each other as " fellow corporate slaves to the man" or simply "Igor". sometimes "our brothers and sisters in hell"
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>purrpelle</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
"Igor".</div>
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It's EYE-gor.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
I call 'em coworkers. I go to work and I co-work with them. They're just people I work with. I don't collaborate with any of them. We're all there doing the same job individually.<br><br>
Colleague sounds all lawyery/doctory.<br><br>
I'd sound so silly saying "I was speaking with a colleague of mine..."
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Jessica Alana</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
I'd sound so silly saying "I was speaking with a colleague of mine..."</div>
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this would be a convo at my job:<br><br><br><br>
"Dude, I was talkin to my colleague yesterday and the waves were gnarly this morning! an he got soooo stoned at jimmy's last night and fell in the koi pond. that crazy *******. Stinky's a great colleague."
 

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coworker. I work in a restaurant <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Gnome Chomsky</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
colleague.<br><br>
I'm an academic, what can i say.<br><br><br><br>
ebola</div>
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*sigh* I guess it'll never work between us...
 
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