1/3 of Your Life Surrounded by Strangers?

We spend 30% — ONE THIRD – of our lives at work, but how well do you your coworkers? Probably not very well.  In fact, you may very well be spending your work day surrounded by strangers.  Investing in your work relationships can be the key to a happier life.  Here’s how…

Turning Strangers into Allies

We spend much of our time at work – usually focused on the task that we’re there to accomplish and not really paying much attention to our coworkers — unless we need something from them.  We spend MORE time at work than we do with our families and yet we know even LESS about the people that surround us for so much of our lives.  It’s critical to remember that investing in and committing to our work relationships is just as important as our personal lives. It is our coworkers who often will help us get promoted or find our next job.  And we all know a case of someone who was mean/rude/backstabbing at work and karma entered to prevent that person from getting their next job or promotion.  What you give to (and take from) the relationships that you form at work is the key to success in your career.

We change jobs much more frequently than we did 30 or 40 years ago.  Back then, it would be expected that you’d be working next to the same people for decades. This allowed workers to get to know people on a deeper level and over time they knew each other really well (not saying they LIKED each other…just that they knew who they were sitting next to at work).  Because we change jobs more frequently and with social media (especially LinkedIn for business networks) connections on the rise, everyone now “knows someone who knows someone”.  The degrees of separation are getting smaller and chances are greater that your next job or promotion discussion will involve input from either current or past coworkers.  Depending on your relationships at work, this can either help boost your career or stall it completely.  I’ve seen both happen.

Happy work = Happy life

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Happy wife, happy life”, but I’d like to suggest that while this may be true, it is also true that a happy work life = a happy life.  If we’re spending 30% of our lives at work and we are unhappy there, 30% of our life –ONE THIRD– of our life is unhappy.  This will certainly bleed over into other areas of our lives.  The reverse is true too.  If we are happy at work, engaged with the people we work with, given challenging and rewarding things to work on and feel like we are making a difference at work, we are happier in other areas of our lives.

Deepening our relationships with our coworkers can make our work life happier, and a happier work life can mean a happier life overall.  And don’t we all want that?