I am surprised at how often people tell me they wish they had my job based on zero facts that I have given them about what I actually do. The conversation ends with the same phrase, “I wish I had coworkers I was friends with.”
And to be honest, I think somewhere between being trained from high school to focus on finding a job that we love and finding a salary we want, a giant truth has been lost:
Who you work with is just as important.
Most people spend a small lifetime banging their head on the walls trying to find the perfect husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend when in reality you spend as much time over the course of 1 year with the people who sit next to you in your office. Doesn’t it make sense that you would want to put in the same effort to find your business soul mate? Here are 5 reasons why choosing to work with people you love could be a game changer, even if your job requires you to be an accountant (And lets be honest, that would be the worst case scenario.)
1. Combats the Career Identity Crisis
Over the course of your lifetime it is inevitable that you will wake up one morning and ask yourself, “What am I doing at my job?” It’s normal and it can sometimes stem from feeling that your job lacks inspiration or doesn’t allow you to contribute to society the way you would want to. This feeling can be counteracted through relationships built in the office. When your coworkers consistently need your advice, your pen, or your big-shot skills on keynote; your purpose becomes more clear: What you do for a living doesn’t matter half as much as the people you help and inspire while doing it. Friendships at work create that give and take relationship needed to feel like you are growing, learning, and contributing.
2. Encourages Creativity
Often times the best inspiration comes when your mind is the most open. To keep this channel in your brain flowing, it helps to pull away from your computer and practice thinking outside the many boxes clients put you in. Friends are great for these type of activities. When you are comfortable enough with your teammates to spend time developing trick shots with Koosh basketball hoops or to map out short-lived business ideas involving exoskeletons and robots, the possibilities are endless. So are the ideas.
3. Establishes Respect
Respect that is gained by fear will always be trumped by respect that is earned. During times of chaos, it’s easy for upper level management to become the scapegoat of most problems especially when there is a distinction between “higher ups” and “lower downs.” However, it is much harder for employees to feel victim of a monarchy with a boss who has integrated themselves as a part of the group. The best managers and bosses I have had were the ones who gave up their office to be on the ground floor with the rest of the team. They realized early on that setting yourself above is setting yourself apart, and that the strongest work forces don’t have that type of disconnect.
4. Helps Tailor Criticism to Be Constructive
Your reaction to a stranger telling you that a report sucks and a friend telling you the same thing is very different. A coworker who knows you well enough, can determine the right time and the right way to deliver advice so that it is constructive. Because criticism can have a powerful effect on employee emotions and productivity, having coworkers that choose their words carefully is key.
5. Eases Stress
You’d be surprised at how often humor can get you through even the blackest hole of client problems. Laughter has actually been proven to aid muscle relaxation and relieve stress response. In my experience, it has also proven to aid in the worst of late-night projects and bad sushi.
You can fight me on it, but I believe that the friendships you build in an office make a difference in your work ethic, creativity, and overall happiness. Enough to even sacrifice other characteristics people look for when choosing their dream job. Money can’t always change the way you feel when you walk into work every morning, but a guy with a cardboard box on his head? Yeah that changes things.
What are your thoughts about choosing a job based on the people? Sound off below.