It’s Friday night. For many, the work week is done. You decide to go to a restaurant for a nice evening meal, and you notice one of your employees is there with a group of friends. She doesn’t notice you, and because she’s deep into conversation, you decide not to interrupt to say hello. The hostess happens to sit you close to her and her friends. So close that you can’t help but hear the conversation.
Around the table they go, each taking turns talking about their week at work. One utters, “Thank God it’s Friday. I hate my job.” Another belts out, “My manager is such a jerk, he doesn’t listen to anyone.” And another chimes in, “I have no idea why what we do even matters. Every day I feel like I’m stuck in a prison.” On and on it goes until you finally hear your employee clear her throat to speak.
What is she about to say? Will she continue in the same vein as her friends, or will she instead say something like, “I feel bad for all of you, I actually like where I work. I feel connected to what we’re doing and the people I work with. It’s a great place to work.”
As leaders we need to consider what happens in these Friday night, end-of-week conversations about work amongst friends and loved ones. Are people proud of our work cultures? Is our organization a place that people like to work? Or is it one that people disparage? The answers to these questions should be instructive and motivate us to pay attention to our work cultures.