Magnum was telling me about his employee satisfaction surveys, and how he finds this question interesting/comical. But I know it shows up on such surveys because studies have shown... employees are more satisfied at work if they are happy socially at work.
Now Magnum is waiting for the next round of survey taking so that he can answer a big fat "NO!". Jake, Magnum's "best friend at work" was sadly laid off a few weeks ago. Jake is actually one of the few (now ex-) of Magnum's coworkers I know. He and Magnum carpooled together. We went to Jake's wedding, which so happened to be on our anniversary, a few years ago. He's a nice guy, and I assume he was productive at work, but the company needed to trim.
While we're sad that Jake no longer works there and that Magnum doesn't have a carpool anymore, in the big picture, I think Jake will be okay. He got a decent severance, his wife works full-time, they don't have any kids, and Jake has marketable work experience and recently earned his MBA. He was kinda sorta looking to move on anyway. In fact, I'm suspicious that management had an inkling of Jake's thinking of moving on, which made him an easy target for layoff.
I don't currently work in a workplace with typical coworker interactions, and I thought back to when I did - before I left the corporate world behind to be a stay-at-home mom.
"Geez, come to think of it, I had a whole harem of work husbands!", I revelated.
The majority of my coworkers were men. Men of all ages. Conversations weren't always work related, and I remember thinking that the stereotypical "man talk" was over generalized. These guys would talk about struggles with their diets, relationship problems, worries about kids, new recipes they wanted to try - similar stuff as what is considered girl talk. Yes, they would discuss sports, particularly on Monday mornings. And lawnmowers. What is it about lawnmowers that makes them SUCH a topic of discussion??
But I heard my fair share of labor and delivery stories too. Very interesting from the man's point of view. I've also gotten much TMI regarding vasectomies...
Some of this, I suspect, might have come from them not having many women at work to gab with. Maybe if I and the few other women weren't around, they would just happily go on about sports and lawnmowers. And while I know they discussed those other things with guys too, I honestly think they enjoyed the opportunity for "girl talk" with actual "girls". I never had the feeling that they were just trying to make conversation with the females to be accommodating.
And thinking back to those surveys, I agree. It's important for workplace happiness to have friends at work rather than just coworkers. And Jake's absence is being felt. Magnum says that management has already gotten earfuls regarding the way the layoffs were handled.
Not long after I left, one of my work husbands got laid off. To make things worse, the manager who laid him off was a woman I'd known from another department, and I had recommended her for the management position.
I never told my work husband that part of the story. Could've been grounds for "divorce".
Do you have a best friend at work? A work husband/wife?