Should I Socialize More At Work?
Working hours are for… WORK! Yeah, you got it right this time. However, I think you shouldn't alienate yourself from the environment you're in. Undoubtedly, when you're at work, you got your working buddies, you got people that you can interact and withdrawing yourself from this environment might not be the best idea.
When you're at work your should be totally focused on working and getting your stuff done. However, you should also be able to interact with others when needed. And this is exactly the topic of today's video. In this video I'll talk if you should be socializing more at work, why it is important to not alienate yourself from the environment you're in and what would be the best way to do this type of things.
John Sonmez: Hey, what's up, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got this question about socializing a work. I thought this was good. I’ve never talked about this subject before, at least that I know of. This question is from Rafee and he says, “Dear John, first of all thank you so much for all the wonderful advice you’ve been giving us on YouTube. You’re easily my top favorite YouTuber.” Cool. I appreciate that. “My question is regarding social etiquette during work hours. I like to think of myself as a very productive person but that also means I don’t talk much to my fellow colleagues or join in their spontaneous discussions that you usually end with laughter. Does that make me an unsocial employee and should I try more harder to mix in with my colleagues? To put it into perspective I keep getting asked ‘Why are you so quiet?’ several times throughout a work week. Kind regards, Rafee, Junior Developer.”
Rafee, I would say that this is kind of—it’s a tough one, right? Because the thing is if you socialize and you don’t get the work done that’s not good. You’re paid to get work done. But you don’t want to alienate yourself. That’s the worst thing that you could do in a group of people is alienate yourself. A lot of times you can come off as haughty or people might think, “Oh, this guy thinks he’s better than us because he doesn’t associate with us and he just does his work. He’s such a brown-noser.” You get that. You’ve got to play it really carefully.
This is what I would recommend is first of all, one way to socialize and get work done or to be social and get work done is to become a mentor, become the go-to person. You can help people with their problems. Be that kind of person that is being social by helping other people with their problems.
I’ve talked about this—I think I did a video on solving other people’s problem. I did this video about on how to become good quickly by solving other people’s problems. Basically the idea is that if you’re doing this you’re going to be exposed to so many more problems than the average developer so the amount of problems that you see is going to cause you to gain experience more rapidly. That’s a plus and then plus you’re being social because you’ll be talking to people, you’ll be working with them, you’ll be helping them which is more valuable than some banter about the water cooler.
Now, you’ve got to have a little bit of that too, but involve yourself in after work activities if you want to be—and I think that’s important if you want to be social, but make work for working and set a good example but don’t just put yourself in isolation. If you want to bring up the whole team, and the way to become the most valuable employee in a company or on a team is to bring up the value of the whole team. It’s one thing to hire someone who’s really good, but it’s another thing to hire someone who makes everyone else good or makes everyone else better. You can be that person if you are able to demonstrate your work ethic, what you already have, and help people along the way and get them to like you so that they’ll want to be more like you and they’ll want to emulate you more.
The way that you do that is like I said, helping people, being the mentor, coaching people, being the go-to kind of person and then steering things. “Okay, let’s work on that problem that you have” that’s one thing you can say or say, “Hey, do you mind showing me that problem that you had?” Now you’re pulling them away from this conversation about politics and who you should vote for in the coming election and now you’re going back to the desk and you’re working on this problem. You’re being a friendly social guy but you’re getting work done and you’re showing them, you’re kind of leading the way by example of how you should work and having that good work ethic. That’s going to carry over. People are going to develop that.
It’s better to build that social bond around actually getting the work done than bullshitting around the water cooler. Now, go out and have a couple of drinks after work. That’s fine. That’s cool, but I think you’re right on it in making work for workplace. That’s what I typically do. That’s what I did a lot in my career. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have the conversation every once in a while, but there are some people that go to work and they just talk for 5 hours and that’s all they do. They just tool around and chat. That’s no good. That doesn’t help anyone. Don’t get involved in that. If you’re in that environment and you can’t change it, then get out of it because it’s not going to do you any good.
Anyway, hopefully that helps you. It’s a tricky situation. There’s not a perfect answer for this and it depends on the environment, the people that you’re around, to be honest with you, to some degree, but hopefully those are some strategies that you can implement that will help you along the way. If you have a question for me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like the video, subscribe to the channel. Talk to you next time. Take care.