I Didn’t Have Any Friends At Work… Do You?
When I worked as a grad in a Big 4 accounting firm, I hated everyone I worked with apart from one slightly more senior guy who turned into a bit of a mentor for me.
At a work team building function I once got horrendously drunk, puked up pink marshmallows ON A STAGE in front of everyone while competing in a pub trivia game of fluffy bunny, and told my direct boss that there was no WAY I was going to turn into a person like him.
Solid move, Sutherland.
In my last corporate job, it was a big deal for me when I realised I wasn’t inviting anyone from my work to my wedding. It wasn’t like, ‘well… if there’s space’. I just didn’t even think about it. None of them were close friends.
In both cases, I was spending every day doing work I didn’t love, surrounded by people I didn’t really like.
And this, my friend, is a recipe for disaster.
- I was unhappy, numbing my emotions by eating chocolate, drinking far too much and binge reading blogs (oh hello there! 😉 )
I felt lonely, friendless, and disconnected from everyone around me.
- I got quite angry, which is my default protective emotion when life is not how I would like it to be (I’m working on that, but it’s still there).
- I felt totally trapped in a life I didn’t want. I had no idea how to change things though, and in fact in both cases ended up taking drastic change to find myself again (first case, moving to London, second case, leaving and starting my own business – both excellent decisions! Those stories are for another day though.)
- I lost myself. When I think of my best self, she is joyful, open, energetic, inclusive and really fun to be around. I was fewer and fewer of those things as time wore on in each job.
What does your best self look like?
Is she hanging around you much at the moment?
I’m guessing perhaps not, but I have good news (keep reading)!
I’m not suggesting you leave your job and start new.
You have bills, a family, responsibilities, plus you don’t mind a few cocktails and the odd fancy dinner, amirite? So you need money! So keep your job.
But let’s make some tweaks to your life.
Tweak one: Write a list of 5 things that you love doing, which take less than 15 minutes.
My list is:
- Reading. It’s true, that I often then get sucked in for more than 15 minutes, but any time spent reading is happy time.
- Going for a walk. I always try to find some nature. In the city I like being barefoot in Hyde Park, at home, there’s nowhere better to walk than along the beach with my feet in the sand.
- Meditating. I use the Headspace app and love it, you could also try Buddhufy.
- Phoning a friend. I have a few of my peeps on speed dial who I love to chat with and also pep me up. Sometimes if I feel too stretched to have a conversation I’ll send a couple of loving text messages.
- Paint by numbers. True story. Just before Christmas I decided to give this a try, as I’m trying to bring a bit of creativity into my life this year. I figured this p.b.n. is a good way to prevent ruining the activity with worry about whether I was producing something ‘good enough’. Turns out, I really love it! More than the colouring in books everyone loves at the moment (I’ve tried them too).
Now you’ve got your list, do one of these things every single day. Tony Robbins said (on this podcast)
If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life!
I’ve amended that to 15 minutes, so take your activities and spend 15 minutes on them every single day.
Tweak two: Create a community and find your people.
If you don’t like your colleagues, then you’re probably spending all day feeling kind of lonely. And being lonely in a busy city is the worst kind of lonely. At least in the middle of nowhere you’re MEANT to be alone!
Here’s where I come in.
If you’re a fun female working in Sydney, then you need to know about the Caper Club.
It’s Sydney’s all new secret society for social types, kicking off on Feb 11th.
I know you, I used to BE you. You spend lunchtimes at the gym, eating lunch at your desk, or running errands. Right? And very occasionally you line up another friend nearby to eat with, but it’s all too quick.
Well that’s all coming to an end. Once a month I’m pulling together my best ladybro posse ever to do something you wouldn’t normally do in your lunch hour. You’ll be hanging out with other women who are looking for MORE than their colleagues can offer in terms of connection, joy and general hilarity.
Let’s go back to the story about my last corporate gig, and the lack of wedding invitations. I remember saying to a friend,
You can’t fool yourself that who you spend your time with doesn’t shape who you become.
I then later discovered that there’s a famous quote from Jim Rohn saying much the same:
You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
When I was spending all my time being shaped by people I didn’t want to become… well that was a problem.
Who are you spending your time with? Are you consciously choosing who is shaping you?
Come along to the Caper Club and change your top 5 for the better. It’s invite only (so I hope you get in!) and the application form is here.
Hope to see you there!
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