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Friends at work: A help or harm to your career?

friends and colleagues at work

Today’s job market is extremely competitive and one of the keys to success is having the drive and ambition to reach the top. Despite this, research conducted by CV-Library found that 18.4% of workers have actually stayed in a job they hate just to remain close with their work friends. While this is good news for businesses, it’s worrying to think that women are hampering their own career opportunities, and happiness, at the expense of workplace friendships.friends and colleagues at work

Alongside this, our study also found that 11.2% of women have left a job that they’ve loved after falling out with work friends. Again, a concerning revelation which begs the question: can having friends at work help, or harm, your career? I explain further below…

Career opportunities

Worryingly, our research found that 11.2% of women believe that having friends at work has harmed their career, with 6.2% revealing that they’ve fallen out with a work friend over a promotion. Fortunately, a further 10.3% of women value their career over friendships, but this number is still relatively small. As a nation, we are becoming increasingly distracted at work, due to a range of factors, which is, for some individuals, harming their career opportunities.

Focussing on the job in question is important and staying in a role that lacks opportunity, just because you have good friends in the office is a big mistake. Whilst you need to be happy in your job, today’s job market is booming – CV-Library reported a 14.1% job growth year-on-year this June – meaning there are plenty of opportunities out there.

The right balance

It’s obvious that friendships do contribute to employee wellness, whether it’s someone to wind-down with at lunch or after work, or a sounding board to get advice from. But there also needs to be a balance; having a strong network of friends and business contacts is extremely important, so building relationships will always be central to progression.

That said; just make sure you keep them professional. The most successful business people have achieved their ambitions through hard-work and dedication to their goals and you never know when you might need to tap into a current or ex-colleague to help further your career.

Happiness is important

At the end of the day, your overall wellbeing at work is most important. Organisations are becoming busier, which is leading to employees being more stressed and overworked. In fact, according to the National Charity Partnership, more than half (52%) of workers never leave the office at lunchtime, but having friends at work to socialise with during these hours can contribute positively to your happiness.

We all have different ways of working, and different preferences. Some people won’t see friends as a priority in the workplace, while others will. What we do know is that it is important to be proactive in your career, and with jobs on the rise, it might be a good time to think about the career opportunities in front of you, update your CV, and start looking for your next big move.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library


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