More than half (53 per cent) of Australian workers said they would sacrifice a work friendship if it meant getting a promotion
Watch your back Michael. Dwight wasn’t really at the dentist.
Source: News Limited
YOU might spend quality time at the pub after work together but that doesn’t mean you can trust your colleague.
More than half (53 per cent) of Australian workers said they would sacrifice a work friendship if it meant getting a promotion, according to research from LinkedIn. Ouch.
It seems Australian millenials are a particularly ruthless bunch. The Relationships@Work survey found 80 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 years would sacrifice a workplace friendship, compared to the more loyal baby boomers, of which only 37 per cent would stick in the knife.
Seventeen per cent of millenials wouldn’t even think twice about throwing their friend under the bus while at least 35 per cent said that while they would still do it, they would at least feel a modicum of guilt about it.
Do you think Petyr Baelish felt guilty about betraying Ned Stark?
Sarah*, 23, learnt the hard way her work mate couldn’t be trusted. Sarah and Jane* worked together and were close friends, visiting each other’s homes most weekends for barbecues and drinks.
Sarah called in sick for two days to travel interstate to deal with a personal issue. She told Jane the truth about her absence before she left. While Sarah was boarding her flight, Jane was in Sarah’s boss’ office ratting her friend out. As it turns out, Jane had been gunning for Sarah’s job ever since she covered for her “friend” during a two-week leave period. Jane told the company to investigate Sarah’s computer for evidence of her plane ticket.
When Sarah returned from her absence, she promptly got the sack. As soon as Sarah left the building, Jane marched into the boss’ office and asked for Jane’s old job and a pay rise.
Sarah told news.com.au: “I confronted her once I learnt all the facts. She denied it completely but everyone in the office backed me up. I’m still really good friends with everyone that I worked with, except for her.
“But I do find it hard now to trust work colleagues and I won’t tell them much about my personal life.”
Organisational psychologist Helen Crossing, director of Inspirational Workplaces, said job scarcity and competition for positions were often motivations behind this type of behaviour.
While millenials hadn’t yet been born when Working Girl hit the big screen, they could learn plenty by observing the dynamics of Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver’s relationship.
She told news.com.au the other factor was that when someone was defined as a “work friend”, there was enough differentiation from that person being a “personal friend” for it to be okay to compete with them.
Ms Crossing said there was also a “me or them” mentality born from the perception that a work friend was competing with them.
However, she said betraying a work friend — as opposed to competing against them — was a very different matter, especially if the betrayal involved information obtained through trust or friendship.
Ms Crossing said a misuse of power could backfire because other people in the organisation could withdraw their support for that person if they were seen to have been promoted after using underhanded tactics.
So why are millenials such a ruthless bunch? It could well be that millenials were more likely to pursue work friendships. The survey found that more than any other age group (62 per cent), millenials derived happiness from work friendships, while three in five millenials said socialising with colleagues in person led to a better work environment.
Millenials were also much more open about their personal lives than their baby boomer counterparts. The younger set was more likely to discuss salaries with their colleagues, share details about their personal health and family issues and share relationship advice.
Have you ever been betrayed by a friend at work? Or have you done the betraying? Share your experiences in the comments below.
* Names have been changed.