If you don’t have an office partner-in-crime, you’re long overdue. A best work friend (BWF) might be exactly what you need to become more engaged at work.
Ever joked with your significant other that you have a “work husband” or “work wife”?
First off, don’t. We’re far from relationship experts, but it’s likely they’ll not be as amused by the prospect of the other [professional] man/woman in your life as you are.
But even if you don’t share it with your significant other, find solace and relationship recovery in citing the next two facts from Gallup Business Journal: Your best work friend (BWF) helps you be seven times more likely to be engaged with your job.
And without a BWF, you’ve only got a one in 12 shot at feeling professionally engaged at all.
At this point, your partner might ask why it’s important to be engaged. After clarifying whether this question reflects the status of your relationship, keep your answer simple. For businesses, engaged employees can be the key to heightened results. For individuals, engagement can be the key to moving up in an organization.
If you’re not showing you care about your job and your organization, it’s unlikely your organization will show it cares about you.
When you think about it, it makes complete sense that employee engagement and job success are so closely correlated. Without something or someone to make things better, it’s easy for work to become, well, work.
But with the right partner in crime, the 8+ hours a day you spend in the office can become as fun and engaging as the adventures of Thelma and Louise, Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy, or Mark Wahlberg and that derogatory teddy bear.
So how do you develop and nurture a fulfilling BWF situation that keeps you professionally engaged and fulfilled at work without putting other working relationships at risk, appearing cliquey or getting in trouble for having too much fun?
Find someone who reminds you of the important things in life
There’s a meme that says “Blood is thicker than water. But maple syrup is thicker than blood. So technically pancakes are more important than family.” Make no mistake, this is a ridiculous saying. But the hidden wisdom is that life is serious enough as it is. We should all find ways to keep things in perspective.
A BWF can be a wonderful way to experience work within the context of its relative importance in your life and ensure you’re not taking work home with you, both literally and figuratively. (Click here to tweet this quote.)
Without that trusted confidant to talk you off the exit plan ledge on bad days and take you for happy hour drinks on good days (or bad days, really), we’re much more likely to give in to the temptation to base our worth on our work.
Don’t show too much PDA — nobody likes that
Did a teacher in grade school ever have to separate you and your best friend in class because you’d never listen to instructions if you were near each other? As well intentioned as BWFs can be, make sure you’re not so engrossed in your friendship that you’re getting each other in trouble.
Although the most genuine of friendships could be formed on the dance floor at the end of an exhausting conference through the serendipitous development of original bull/matador choreography, if your boss is watching with a camera phone, you might want to reconsider how you and your BWF appear to others.
Remember that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
We know: Having a BWF can turn a mundane job into a blast that you get paid to have. But at some point, it’s going to have to end. According to the same Gallup study, people have, on average, 11 jobs in their lifetime.
It stands to reason that your work spouse is on a time limit, and you can’t confuse your happiness at work with how much you like your BWF. If your job is boring but your friend is fun, you’re in the wrong job. You owe it to yourself to carve out a career you love, that challenges you and plays to your strengths.
Don’t settle for a job that leaves you unfulfilled just because you and your BWF have great fun gossiping in the ladies’ room during lunch hour. Life is short; work out what makes you tick, make that your goal and look at great friendships as the icing on the career cake.
Jo Eismont is a social media and Web editor at personal development company Insights. She’s passionate about sharing the philosophy of “doing what you love and loving what you do.”