Why a Best Friend at Work Makes Us More Successful

Why A Best Friend At Work Makes Us More Successful

“Why a Best Friend at Work Makes Us More Successful” was written by Anne Trobaugh.


Mentoring and easy access to advice has given me an edge and accelerated my career.

As I reflect on my 18-year career, moving from a Test Cell Engineer in diesel engine mechanical development to now Director of Global Quality for an industrial manufacturing company, with 13 various jobs in between, a complete wave of gratitude overtakes me. I think back to having the opportunity early in my career to speak to a company Vice President and female engineer about the hardships I felt being a woman in a male-dominated field. I was so humbled as she proceeded to tell me how things were for her 30 years prior. As the years passed, I connected with countless other senior leaders, male and female, who took the time to listen and guide me, many championing me along the way. They all gave me their time, which is one of the most valuable resources we have.

Along with these high-powered mentors, I have also had amazing peers who were instrumental in supporting me in my career. Peer mentoring relationships are as crucial as higher-level senior mentors (and maybe even more important!). My fondest memory of SWE National Conference was in 2018 in Minneapolis, eating dinner with colleagues, speaking about Abby Wambach’s book, and defining ourselves as the wolfpack. My college best friends have always been supportive, and we still text weekly, sometimes daily, and ask for help when needed. I am also lucky enough to have a best friend at work who still provides countless hours of advice and offers a sounding board for all things. We have both benefited so much from our relationship, conversing on topics ranging from how to pack for a multi-country work trip to preparing presentations to our company’s Board of Directors.

Anne Trobaugh and her best friend at work
Anne (right) and her best friend from work.

In addition to these wonderful partners at work, I have a massive support system at home. My mom and dad both worked outside of the home; my dad retired as a Vice President in Engineering after a very successful 40-year career. My husband, brother, brother-in-law, and sisters-in-law all work in Corporate America in jobs of great responsibility. They help me think through things when I need some assistance. My Aunt and Uncles are cheerleaders for my career, and I even discuss work-related topics with my cousins at times.

I feel so empowered from all these relationships and have such gratitude for every one of them. Having this support has allowed me to feel encouraged, take risks and excel in my career.

Research proves that mentoring and having advocates in your career are keys to success.

Research supports my feelings of appreciation to my mentors, advisors, and work friends in my career. According to mentoring.org, young adults with a mentor are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions than those without a mentor. Gallup has researched the importance of having a best friend at work. When we have a Best Friend At Work, we are more engaged, and we show up and do our best to unleash our true potential. Gallup states, “Our research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job. For example, 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%).”

“Our research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job. For example, 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%).”

“Why We Need a Best Friend at Work”, Gallup (2018)

Not everyone has access to all the work-related advice or relationships they require to be successful.

I want everyone to have access to this feeling of empowerment, encouragement, and support that I have received, and that research proves we need to be successful. I want everyone, especially technical women, to reach their full potential and get work-related help when needed.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a best friend at work or other types of mentors or advisors. The global pandemic means more of us are working at home, where some of the facilitation of easy conversations of support from a work friend or mentor is harder to get. Or, even pre-pandemic, maybe you didn’t have a best friend at work because the company culture frowned upon it or because you couldn’t find a work best friend or anyone else to talk to in our line of work.

Even if you have a best friend at work, mentors, and/or advisors, perhaps there is a need to get some support or advice from someone detached from your work-related issue. Maybe you don’t feel 100% comfortable speaking to your co-workers about a particular topic.

Whatever the situation may be, My Best Friend At Work was founded to help. Like the support I received and still receive today, I want to offer that support to everyone who needs it.

My Best Friend At Work is an immediate and virtual best friend offering work-related advice. There is no long intake process or costly monthly fee for coaching; we provide an acute and quick response to help you virtually and quickly. We can be found at mybestfriendatwork.com and are active on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn under the handle @mybestfriendatwork.

I am genuinely passionate about passing on the support that I have received and that I think is so essential for the success of young technical women.

A note from SWE HQ:

We’re on board with Anne! We want everyone to feel empowered, encouraged, and supported in their STEM career, and we need online, accessible options now more than ever. SWE’s new mentoring platform, the SWE Mentor Network, provides access to one-on-one mentoring with other SWE members from around the world. Depending on your needs, find a Best Friend at Work, a SWE mentor, or why not both?

You can sign up for the SWE Mentor Network through signup links sent out in weekly newsletters, or by emailing membership@swe.org.


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Author(s) Information

  • Why a Best Friend at Work Makes Us More Successful best friend at work

    Anne Trobaugh

    Anne Trobaugh is currently Deputy Director of Global Quality at Flowserve Corporation. Before her current role, Anne spent over 17 years at Cummins Inc. in various positions ranging from Test Cell Engineer to Director of Quality Analytics. She has mentored more than 50 employees throughout her career and enjoys helping everyone, especially technical women, excel in their positions.

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