Working with Friends

By: Shannon Boatwright

I recently read an enlightening article called, “How Coworkers Affect Your Job Satisfaction,” written by Jacob Shriar.

In the article, I came across an interesting bit of information about the results of a 20-year study on the work environment in all sorts of different job fields. They expected factors like long work hours or having a mean boss to be a major factor affecting a person’s health. According to the article, “What they found instead, was that the factor most closely linked to health was the support of coworkers. The meaner a colleague was, the higher their risk of dying. According to the study, middle-aged workers with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study.”

 Wowzers! Isn’t that crazy!? This was really eye opening for me, especially since lately I have felt especially thankful for my amazing coworkers. I am truly blessed to have colleagues that are not only supportive, but many of them are like family. We’ve created a special bond that has helped us all to better survive and make the best of our job situations. I always say, if it weren’t for them, I’d never last in my position in our messed up education system. We band together and lift each other up. We always have each other’s backs. We love and care for one another. The support is real and genuine. I can’t imagine my life without these people I’ve come to know and love.

Reading this article just added scientific back-up to what I knew in my heart already: having friends at work is truly important to our mental health. Check out the article link above and take stock of your own work environment. Do you have a friend at work? Do you have a family of fabulous colleagues? It really is important and can be so beneficial to your overall health! If you’re like me and are blessed to have an incredible support system at your place of work, thank those special friends. Let them know how much you appreciate them. As they say…appreciate the good people in your life. They are hard to come by!

To my family at CMS, I positively adore you all! I’m here for you and can’t thank you enough for being there for me in return. You fill my heart and lift my soul! Big smiles and millions of thank you’s!

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Cow

By: Lara Clark

I recently read an article about cows and how they are one animal that scientists believe have a best friend. In the article it said, “When heifers have their preferred partner with them, their stress levels in terms of their heart rates are reduced compared with if they were with a random individual.”

SONY DSCThis got me thinking about these “preferred partners” or best friends and how true these affects might be.

Today is my best friend’s birthday. If you have spent any time with me, you know about my best friend. We met our first day of college. I can tell you what she was wearing…fun fact about me: I can tell you what most people are wearing on significant days. We lived together for almost 8 years after college and before marriage. I joke that we should have just bought a duplex together – sort of joke, sort of a good idea.

This post does not need to be the history of our friendship-mostly because it is only funny to us and can be a little freaky (Example: our husbands work at the same place, our children are weeks apart, and there was a time that we spoke in an accent particular to each other – kinda like a best friend dialect…drove our boyfriends (now husbands) crazy.

But this is what I will post – there are parts of our friendship makes us better wives, better mothers, and better friends. I am thankful for this special cow.

When we no longer lived together it was unnatural for us not to talk every day about mundane things, so we instituted a 9 a.m. phone call every morning on the way to work. Now it is after kid drop-off and before work – a small moment of adult conversation. During this time we talk about really important stuff like marriage, potty training and new shoes. We share frustrations, fears, and laughs all in about 10 minutes. The calls are important for a variety of reasons and we joke that we have saved hundreds on therapy, but I think there is one simple ingredient that make these calls matter so much. For those 10 minutes, I know I am talking to my girl power teammate. These mornings are strictly for GIRL TALK-chatting about being a mom, a wife, friend or just plain being female. We have similar roles as wife, working mom, we have the same body parts, hormones, and our long special history. Talking every morning balances me out. I bet these calls have been lowering my stress level for years.

The second thing about a best friend is this: A best friend may tell you when you are wrong or that maybe you need “a little perspective,” but before that conversation ends you know that they stand up for you, if need be. Good friends are invaluable because they can be a cheerleader. but may not always be up for the messy business of truth telling. That’s what a best friend is for. Truth telling and back=up. Who doesn’t need that every once in a while?

I have been blessed with this friend for many years (more than I will tell). We have cried over boyfriends, laughed at our weddings, and held hours-old babies together. Happy Birthday, Cow! This friendship, the phone calls and the occasional dose of reality keep me relatively sane. Everyone should hug their cow today!