Friends at work are vital if you make smart decisions. This question was recently posed to a career coach in a media industry newsletter: “As a new employee is it important to make friends at my new company?” The “expert” suggests that it depends on the office’s working culture – do others in the office socialize after work, or not? After many years working on TV and radio production crews that turned out to be either wonderful or challenging, I heard the mantra “make everyone your friend”… and saw the light.
While on an assignment consulting for a production group, I turned down an after-work birthday cocktail invitation, and cringe now at my reasons why. I knew these people would probably never be close friends so why bother? Now, in hindsight, I truly regret making that decision about these potential friends at work. By pre-casting a potential friend connection you can burn helpful, inspirational connections for your future. Grab the Diem!
Friends at Work: In the Bubble
Follow the “office culture” to determine how social you’ll be in the company. Don’t go in expecting to find love or an enduring friendship at the new company. Why not? Check out this Business News Daily article by Jeanette Mulvey, Managing Editor, that has a new study about “Having friends at work can not only make the day go by faster. It can also lead to a longer life.”
Friends at Work: Outside the Bubble
However, go in with your eyes wide open. Be strategic and smart about your connections. Think inspirational, enduring and from my own personal vault working in Hollywood, find a mentor, be open to mentoring others and understand that some colleagues may add real star value to your Super Friend Group. Remember you control your friend networks, they don’t control you!
Working in media really ramps up your office life. I’ve landed in crews which have crazy schedules and unrealistic deadlines. Then, it’s all over. Gone for a months until the show’s picked up again and you’re hurled back into the mix. From each of these shows I’ve made friends who empower my life and others who, inadvertently, have forced me to be smarter (hopefully) about how to swim around the office sharks.
FINAL SCENE: A fun story about a shark!
Many years ago in Australia I was stranded on an offshore sand bank after the tide came in, forcing me to swim back to the main beach. While swimming I was amazed at all the seaweed floating below the surface. When I scrambled up onto the shore my friend exclaimed that it wasn’t seaweed but the mating area for gray nurse sharks! I love sharks, but knew that I was lucky the area wasn’t their feeding grounds. Sharks are natural predators, and I believe some friends at work are too. These colleagues can be great guides for you, if you take time to study their strategies and behavior, as long as you make sure you remain this person’s chum and not their next meal.
Remember…. A great friend starts with you!
© Glenda Shaw_Superfriendgroups.com 2014
Please note: I hide specific and identifiable details in my friend stories as these stories are examples of behavior and not meant to target anyone. These stories are based on my opinion and perspective, except when the people written about are in the public domain. Any advice is from opinion and research and must not be viewed as legal or medical advice.