Newly Corporate

Work, life and the pursuit of happiness for the young professional.

Make a Friend at Work, and Then They Leave…

office-friends.jpgIf it hasn’t already happened several times, its bound to happen to you.  You work at developing a relationship, small talk over coffee, and maybe even dinner and drinks, then out of nowhere your friend and coworker leaves you high and dry.

Sometimes the departure leaves you with more work, sometimes it just leaves an emptiness in the office that was once filled with playful banter and even in some instances flying objects.  Some people believe you should keep work and friendship separate (see comment section).  I have to say I disagree.  Although you should not force a relationship at work, why refrain from a friendship if it happens to form?  After all, you do spend 12 hours a day, 70 hours a week with these people.  Most people won’t remain at a job in which they can’t stand the people they work with.

Some people take friendship even further.  In our office alone I need both hands and all my feet to count the intra-office hook ups/relationships/marriages.  The way I always explain it is:  take a bunch of fairly fresh college students, give them money, add liquor and a week long training… you fill in the rest.

But is it best to become friends with your co-workers, even knowing they will most likely leave you at some point for a new water-cooler and new friends?  In the end I say yes, it is always worth making friends at work, even if they leave, wait no, especially if they leave!

Public accounting is a great example of this.  You work tons of hours closely with the same people, and like the tower of Babel, everyone goes off in different directions.  Other firms, industry, consulting, etc… What were once office buddies have now turned into business contacts leaving you a network of leads, jobs, and connections.  Just remember to stay in contact!

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  1. Great post Brandon. I think that a lot of this can also depend on the makeup of your office. I definitely agree when there are a bunch of your peers, your age, this almost happens naturally and is a great way to both expand your network as well as make friends to hang out with on occasion. I’ve noticed the difficulty can sometimes come in when you’re in a smaller office with a team that tends to be older and more experienced (the situation I’m in now). It’s not any less important to make friends in this environment, but you tend to have to go about it differently. I read a post at Dumb Little Man recently that I think really applies in this situation. Office politics is often overlooked, but it can be so critical in opening up opportunities you never knew existed.

  2. Most Americans spend more time at the office than they do at home with family and friends. Why wouldn’t you want to make friends with the people you spend 40 hours a week with?

    No one tells high school or college students not to make friends with the people they see everyday, even though in 4 years they will eventually graduate and leave. One of the main qualities of a good friend is loyalty against odds.

    And if you’re worried about politicking and corporate back-stabbing, think about it this way: people will always choose a nice person who does a less-than-perfect job over a jerk who does an exemplary one.

  3. Great Points Office Newb. You almost have to try not to make friends in the office. However, I do know some employees, even in this very professional networking like career of accounting that treat it as a pay check. They show up to work, eat lunch on their own, turn down group outings, and rarely strike up or carry on a conversation. Everyone has their own priorities I suppose.

    Justin – I believe your right, age is a huge factor in making friends in the office. Older workers tend to already have family’s and groups of friends, they don’t have the time to make friends with the newbies. But when you do get in with that older worker as a good friend, its usually something fun and exciting isn’t it?


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