I think there are many things that will have an impact on one’s own job satisfaction in the workplace, things such as level of responsibility, promotion potential, predictability, and of course the bonds we have with those we work around. I believe that the bonds we establish in the workplace can lead to many different forms of friendships. The workplace for many individuals is complex and confusing, each person is hired to fill a specific purpose, and in doing so they develop bonds with individuals in order to accomplish those requirements. Through those interactions friendships can grow when information is shared, sometimes that information is personal and sometimes its only job related. This then feeds into a better established work environment. As Vernon (2010) wrote “friends at work provide a sense of belonging: they make you feel that you are informed about what’s going on, that your opinions are being heard across the organization.” (pp.17-18) This is not to say that the friendships formed are genuine nor do I feel that have to be, the end result of work is to accomplish the tasks given, friendships are a bonus. My own views on this topic are in a way twisted, after serving in the military for many years and across many different organizations it has become more difficult to develop friendships within the workplace that I feel are more than what Vernon may classify as ‘pseudo-intimacy’ in which I may know a lot about a Soldier or a supervisor many know about me but we honestly care very little about each other at the end of the day or the end of tour. (Vernon, 2010, p.15) I could also agree with Aristotle’s second category of friendships as it relates to many organizations I have been a part of in which each individual is used to achieve some result and as that result is achieved the friendship is in itself ends unless another need arises. (Cooley, 2002, p.197) Furthermore, the impacts that they can have on job satisfaction are significant as I feel you feed off the energy and friendships of those around you. If do not get along or enjoy working with someone or a group of individuals than you are more likely to under perform in the responsibilities you are assigned. This is a critical point to understand when you look at the military life, as you are depending on other in situations that can have grave impacts if not executed correctly.
As I considered some of my own friendships in a workplace environment and whether I have been able to experience true care and support from my colleagues I would have to say yes and no. I wholeheartedly believe that there have been people throughout my career who have truly cared for me and helped guide and mentor me. However, at a certain point that care and guidance stopped. Now one could argue it was due to the constant moves, or difference in career paths throughout the years, but I feel that it’s just the military way. Another could also say that maybe they did it as a way to ensure that they themselves benefited from my development. Based on Adam Ferguson’s view on commercial society, Vernon suggests this could also be defined as a way of promoting interdependence, with the risk of substituting the virtues of taking care of others and placing a priority of taking care of oneself.
Cooley, D. R. (2002). False Friends. Journal of Business Ethics, 36(3), 195–206. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:101404200564
Vernon, Mark. The Meaning of Friendship (p. 15, 17-18, 39). Palgrave Macmillan UK. Kindle Edition.