Friendly or Friendly's?
Things I spend like 30 minutes getting distracted by while writing this newsletter. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
A subscriber emailed me:
I have been looking forward to reading more about the “happiness survey” your readers participated in ... Did I miss it?
No, you didn't miss it! In fact, I was almost set to return to it today—but honestly there's a lot of data to crunch, and my spreadsheet skills and chart-making abilities are a bit rusty.
I’ll blame it on the pandemic, like everything else. But, I'm pretty sure I'll have more to share tomorrow and Friday.
As a bit of foreshadowing, however, let’s discuss two related studies that I've mentioned in passing before, but that are quite relevant:
One comes from a chain of bowling alleys.
The other comes from Gallup.
So, you know: Equal authority and credibility.
Actually, the bowling alley one has a theme in common with the Canadian politeness ranking I discussed earlier this week, in that getting read/watched/listened to, in my experience, is often about packaging whatever message you want to share in a container of useful, entertaining information.
Half of this business is 90 percent packaging.
Also, in a roundabout way, I suppose that means that today's edition of Understandably is brought to you in part by Bowlero: the largest ten-pin bowling center operator in the world, AND an occasional source of attention-grabbing workplace sociology studies.
OK, let's rack 'em up. First, the bowling company. They interviewed 2,000 U.S. workers, asking all kinds of questions about employee engagement and friendships. Among the findings:
84 percent of those surveyed said a job can't truly be great unless they have great coworkers.
67 percent say they have at least one co-worker they consider a close friend.
Those who said they have close friends at work are more than twice as likely to also say they look forward to going to work than colleagues who don't.
41 percent said they'd left a job because they didn't like the culture.
36 percent say they'd take a pay cut if their workplace would better approach their ideal.
My wild guess is that corporate team-building events are a big part of Bowlero's business; hence the idea of doing this study and sending it to people like me.
The results, especially those last two points, are so aligned with what's reported elsewhere, that I find it credible. For example, writing on Gallup.com, Annamarie Mann said the question, "Do you have a best friend at work?" is…
...among the most controversial [questions] Gallup has asked in 30 years of employee engagement research [despite the fact that] ... our research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.
I don't have the full study results for this one, but Mann was largely referencing the work of Rodd Wagner and Jim Harter, who wrote about it all at length in a Gallup-published book (a NYT bestseller, in fact) called 12: The Elements of Great Managing.
Also, as Yale University professors Emma Seppälä and Marissa King wrote in Harvard Business Review:
"[P]eople who have a "best friend at work" are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job.
What's more, employees who report having friends at work have higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who don't."
Actually, this is working out quite nicely. Because while I'm still working on the charts and everything from the Understandably survey, I can share a small preview of tomorrow's newsletter data.
In short, just under 29 percent of readers reported that whomever their best friend is now, they met that person at work. It's second-most, compared to ...
Wait, let me hold something back, and I'll tell you the #1 "where I met my best friend" answer tomorrow. (Guess in the comments?)
Meanwhile, readers gave me dozens of short answers and stories about how you met your future best friends at work.
Remember, these replies were all anonymous so I can’t reach out individually to anyone who replied, but if you see your answer below and want to say hello, I’d be interested to hear. A sample:
"Met thru work, she represented an external stakeholder at a meeting."
"At work. Hired him to be my assistant, fell in love and married him. :)"
"At work (Friendly Ice Cream shop over 50 years ago)."
"At flight school in my late 20s."
"Work - one while working in a gift shop on Nantucket 36 years ago, another at my first PR agency 26 years ago."
(I feel compelled to point out here that the Friendly’s restaurant chain was called Friendly, without the “apostrophe ‘s’” until 1989. I had a feeling this was the case—well, I didn’t know the year, offhand—but I spent a bit of time looking it up.)
One more bit of foreshadowing: Since so many adults wind up meeting their best friends at work, but so many of us are still not working in person full-time, I wonder what that's going to do long-term, for our friendships?
Are we meeting and befriending people elsewhere?
Has something made up for it, or will it?
Or are we all destined for a crash, because if there’s one thing our survey showed about friendship, it’s that…
Wait. Again, that’s for tomorrow—and most likely Friday, too, on a different note. Thanks for reading and sharing. See you here again in 24 hours.
7 other things worth knowing today
At least 10 Brooklyn subway riders were shot Tuesday by a man wearing a gas mask and a green construction vest who tossed a smoke canister in the train car to distract the rush hour crowd before opening fire, officials and law enforcement sources said. Another 19 or so straphangers were hurt in the chaos that followed the shooting. Authorities say they believe they have an image of the assailant, but at least of when I wrote this he had not been found. (NBC New York)
Oh great. Consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, slightly hotter than expected and the highest since 1981. (CNBC)
The South Dakota House on Tuesday impeached state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over a 2020 car crash in which he killed a pedestrian but initially said he might have struck a deer or another large animal. He's the first official to be impeached in South Dakota history; he'll be at least temporarily removed from office pending the historic Senate trial, where it takes a 2/3 majority to convict on impeachment charges. (Star Tribune)
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died at age 67, according to his family. (NBC News)
Fast, a buzzy startup that attracted more than $120 million in investment, is shutting down, according to the company's chief executive, Domm Holland. Fast had hired hundreds of employees, including highly paid executives, but the startup's product reportedly generated about $600,000 last year. "With Fast," one former employee was quoted saying, "It was like, 'how quickly can we set money on fire?'" (NPR)
In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the government of Taiwan says it's published a 28-page handbook for the first time advising civilians on how to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion, including where to find bomb shelters and how to stockpile emergency supplies. (France 24)
Ha ha ha, a nice, totally uncontroversial study finds that Bitcoin fans are psychopaths who don’t care about anyone. (NY Post)