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Losing Your Work Wife Ain’t Easy

by Maggie Suszka

I experienced a major relationship loss at the end of last year. With 2019 having come to a close, so had my most valued, special work relationship. I can’t blame her for flying the coop, she is on to bigger and better things – including a salary that is nearly double what she was making.

While I am celebrating her accomplishments and triumphs (with a few tears as well), I can’t help but reflect on everything she brought into my life and the overarching intimacy that is formed with coworkers. She was the resources manager at our office. Our relationship began my first day, with me signing my on-boarding papers and going over some other first-day-type documents. It was taking every inch of my being to not claw at my aching and sun burnt skin under my first-day-of-work pretty blouse. 20 minutes into our conversations, I cracked – and started itching viciously. To my surprise, she did too. With a combined sigh of relief and laughter, we both satisfied our itching sunburns and I felt a sweet, subtle comfort knowing I had my first friend in the office. Or at the very least, a connection we would be able to laugh about later on.

I didn’t know then that she would become one of the people I looked forward to seeing most every day, who I so treasured making a smoothie with every morning, who I would Skype to take daily walks, and most importantly my go-to for any work or nonwork related problem – whether venting about a passive aggressive email from a coworker or debating the minutiae details of a subpar date who asked me to split the bill. 

According to Gallup, their research has found a direct link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job. Moreover, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%).

My work wife/best friend Danielle became my sounding board with relationship woes, divulging first dates, hearing about her falling in love, talking about her brother’s wedding, debating how to both get raises, and more. I was there for every analysis of when she first hooked up with her best guy friend, to watching their relationship evolve into the wild love they share today. I was there for every detail, date, introcincricty, and minor argument.

Then, our so called friendship book got ripped out of my hands at the best chapter – and she took the high paying job at the tech giant.

I felt a wave of mourning come over me on her last week in the office. Who was I going to make smoothies or avocado toast with egg semi-obnoxiously in the kitchen every morning? Who was I going to take my walks with every afternoon? And I’ve officially lost my partner in crime to every happy hour after work that I wasn’t already sold on attending.

Don’t mention that her first week out of the office – I’ll remind you she was our resourcing manager – I cried. And not just over the loss of her incredible, joyful presence in the office but because of the loss of her literal role. I was over allocated, stressed and exhausted. And then it really hit me – the importance of the coworker who will cry with you, hide in a conference room, get hungover tacos with you and listen to you vent and all the above. 

So, I’m on the hunt for a new work wife – and so should you. Women who do are more likely to have a positive experience during the day, such as enjoying what they do, more likely to take risks that could lead to innovation, to have more progress and get recognized for successes

Sadly, it’s reported that a mere two out of 10 U.S. employees strongly agree they have a best friend at work. 

If those pointers above weren’t enough to get you on the hunt for a work wife of your own – you’ll also feel less worried, stressed, and tired. Sign me up. Happy work wife and hubby hunting!

Feature Image via Vanessa Granda

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