Have you asked friends how they’re doing at work lately? Many people are feeling scared. The national news is filled with headlines about layoffs and an unstable economy. Unlike before, the layoffs no longer feel small and isolated. Big companies that we all know are laying off hundreds, if not thousands, of workers. Many are being laid off with little or no notice. The unemployment rate remains low, and there continue to be job postings. But, the state of the economy feels very uncertain. After three years of instability, people feel fear. It’s just that plain and simple.
This time of year, I often discuss the importance of having a job you love. You spend so much time at work that it is important to do work that is meaningful to you. It’s important to do work you can feel good about. This is all true. That said, there are also times you’re happy just to have a job. For many people, this is that point in time. If you’re feeling this way, what can you do?
Very often, how we feel at work isn’t really about the work we’re doing. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that people don’t quit companies. They quit managers. And, that’s the truth. Sometimes, workers will leave for a better salary. But, they wouldn’t have been looking if they hadn’t been unhappy.
If you are in a situation that feels tough, look around you. One way to combat unhappiness at work is to find a work friend. It sounds silly at first, but it works. Having someone to talk to about what’s going on in the office can create a support structure that is otherwise lacking. It can give you a sounding board on hard days. It can give you another reason to come to work and put your best foot forward when you’re not feeling it. It can give you one person you can trust and count on.
In most situations, finding a work friend is easier than finding a new job. And, if switching jobs during an uncertain economic period is more of a risk than you’d like to take, it’s time to build up the support system at your existing job.
If you’re lucky enough to have a work friend or two, don’t discount how important they are in your life. They are your buffer that will help you make it through tough times. They’ll help you to love days that might otherwise be unbearable. They’ll have your back, and shelter you from the storm happening in other areas of the company. Cherish those people. They’re special. They’re the ones you may even work with again in the future – at another company.
As always, if you have a new opportunity on the horizon, go for it. But, if you need to keep things steady, focus on friendships. Focus on the people who help you to love your job a little bit more.