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I'm Dale, the author of Going 1099

Making friends at work

Published about 1 month ago • 2 min read

The Wall Street Journal published an article that made the claim that Gen-Z are negatively impacted by remote work because they don't get to make friends.

What Gen Z Will Lose if They Don’t Have Friendships at Work

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"The rise of remote work has upended all that; the less time we are in the office, the less time we have to form and cement the bonds of friendship.

That’s true for all remote or hybrid workers. But the impact is being felt most strongly for people with the least time working—Gen Z. With few experiences to draw from, young remote workers increasingly don’t even think of the office as a place to make friends.

The impact—on people’s personal and professional lives—could be profound. Removing the social aspect of work further encourages remote workers to keep their jobs at arm’s length. This detachment could have the twin effects of maintaining a better work-life balance, but leave workers lonelier than they would be had they made office friends."

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As someone who has had a weird relationship with employment and work my whole life, here is my take on this claim:

  • You do need to spend lots of time and "go through the trenches" together to cement friendships.
  • Certain work environments facilitate this. Military units are the canonical example, but my wife made lots of good friends at her previous employer, which had a normal office environment.
  • However, if you don't like your work or the company, it's unlikely you'll want to spend more time hanging out with your colleagues. The weight of not liking what you do for 40 hours per week is overwhelming. The best case there is to find someone who feels the same way at work and be friends with them.
  • There IS a problem in modern life (at least, in the "costal, corporate elite" version of life), that makes it hard to develop friendships. Basically, outside of work, there aren't many places where you can spend lots of time with people consistently unless you force it.
  • If you don't make friends at work, you have to be deliberate about finding ways to spend consistent time with friends outside of work.
  • Work would be a convenient solution for friendships, but I am wary of putting too much of social/self-actualization needs into your employer. It's nice to have work friends and be supportive of your company's mission, but it's risky to rely on it. Plus, most organizations don't pull this off very well.
  • As a 1099, you have more control about how you spend your time. It's important to allocate time and energy to social relationships and you're in a better position to do that if you work for yourself.
  • That being said, being in the office does have a professional benefit: it's easier to network and build professional relationships. You'll develop relationships that are somewhere between strangers and friends. You can be friendly with colleagues and not spend time with them outside of work. This is useful
  • All-in-all, work friends are nice to have but not guaranteed and not to be depended on. Find friends outside of work and make an effort to spend time with the consistently.

And that concludes my TED talk.


If you're interested in learning how to get your first solo 1099 federal sub-contract, check out my book:

Going 1099: How to become a solo federal sub-contractor and gain control of your working life, earn more money and unlock more free time

I'm Dale, the author of Going 1099

Going 1099 is a book that teaches you how to become a solo federal sub-contractor and gain control of your working life, earn more money and unlock more free time. I wrote it because quite a few people have asked me how they can become a 1099. I figured it was best to write a single book that I can send them and that I can share with others who are interested. This newsletter goes out Monday - Friday and covers topics that will help you succeed in starting and maintaining successful 1099 career.

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