Monday, October 26, 2009

do you have a best friend at work? (m)

Believe it or not, when the Gallup Company takes a poll to measure employee satisfaction and engagement in the workplace, that is one of the questions they ask: "do you have a best friend at work?"

Several years ago, a new Chairman took over our company.  He was the first outsider in history to get the top job.  One of the first things he ordered was a climate survey of key groups within the company.  We thought it was a bit of a "witch hunt." The group I was in did not fare well.  It was the most productive business unit in the company, but not a "happy" place.  My colleagues and I were gathered and forced to view the results which were projected onto a large screen in a dark conference room with a large table featuring a cold granite countertop. 

I remember just two things from this meeting: the "best friend" question and the outstanding muffins and bagels from Rebecca's Cafe.

If you believe the people from Gallup, they say that in all their years of doing such surveys, this one question alone correlates most to job satisfaction.  It doesn't mean you work with your "best friend" in the does mean that there is someone at work you consider a good friend.  Someone with whom you can talk, eat lunch, socialize, vent, etc.  They say it makes a big difference.   My group thought it was B.S.

Today, I went to lunch with three women, all of whom I've worked with over the past sixteen years.  Two are from outside my old group.  The other, Michele, was in my group. We've launched major multi-million dollar businesses together; stressed together, worked late nights and weekends together, laughed together, consoled each other over the death of a parent/loved one together, celebrated birthdays together and, finally, said goodbye to each other as our company changed ownership and we went our separate ways.

We ate a healthy seafood lunch, skipped dessert, drove the other customers away with our laughter and gave our waitress a nervous breakdown (but tipped her well).

My three friends are still working but none are as happy as when we all worked together.

I totally get that Gallup question now.  Sometimes you have to lose something to really understand and appreciate what you had.

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