But you read my last entry, so you know what I did: I hit the Internet. Most of the hits expounded on the value of friendships at work, with a few claiming that AI will undermine workplace friendships. About halfway down the page, I found this article from Capterra. Their study in 2022 indicated that relationships with co-workers are the least important factor in job satisfaction. They site high turnover and remote/hybrid work schedules as the catalyst for this change.
I believe it’s important to get along with our co-workers, and work certainly is more pleasant and rewarding when you do. I do try to get along with my coworkers, but friendships will flow as they will in the rest of the world and the fact is that some people connect better than others. Some types attract, some repel, and one thing you learn in the workplace is how to navigate those personality polarities with grace (hopefully). Likewise, there’s plenty of advice to “network” and build professional connections to get ahead. The problem is, how deep are these connections? Are they really your friends, or a means to an end? I suppose it depends on the value you put on friendship: is it based on shared interests, or what you can do for one another to achieve personal goals?
I can attest to constant work turnover affecting workplace friendships. I’m one of those rare types who have stuck with the same career across two agencies for over 25 years. I had two bosses at the first agency I started with in 1998, and the reason for that change was that I transferred from a part-time position to a full time position in 1999. From 1999 – 2010, I had the same boss. I’ve had seven bosses at the agency I’ve been at since 2010. Retirements, reorganizations, and job advancements have led to frequent changes. This is reflective of what’s been happening in the world at large, which has seen increased retirements and job changes since the pandemic (mostly people leaving for hybrid or work-from-home opportunities). I understand why people are leery of investing too much in colleagues who might only stay for a year or two. But you learn even from short relationships, and it’s wisdom you take into the rest of your life.
My experience with remote work was limited to one year in 2020-21 and included the extenuating circumstances of my Dad’s passing, so re-integrating to the office was a challenge for me. Working from home was nice (parrots are interesting colleagues) but there were times that it got lonely and I felt isolated. But there were other times when I was in a crappy mood or just “off,” and I was glad that others weren’t subjected to my funky mood. As with all things, it was trade offs.
It will be interesting to see if future research confirms that the friendship trends in the workplace are shifting. No doubt, the pandemic did have an influence, and time will tell if it sticks or levels out. I’m not changing my personal practices, but it matters to keep my writing realistic, especially since I write sci-fi, which is future focused. Work friendships aren’t a factor in Singularity, but they have been for past novels, and I’m sure it will be in the future.
Speaking of Singularity, rewrites are in progress. I’ve completed work on 15 chapters this week and I’m pleased with how the changes are improving the story. I’m making good, steady progress, and I enjoy working on it. This is a fascinating world that I love spending time in.
That’s all today. Have a Happy Friday and a wonderful weekend.