“Rockefeller loved Flagler’s dictum that a friendship founded on business was superior to a business founded on friendship, and for several decades they worked together in an almost seamless fashion.”
— Ron Chernow, Titan
This essay was originally published as the introduction to Good Work—Edition Nº 40 on
Happiness is Not a Place by The Wind and The Wave

Work, as we often think about it, is a place to get things done, to put food on the table, to make that bread. But for me, work has also been the place I’ve met my closest friends.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote that when couples tend to fight, “what they’re really saying is, ‘you’re not enough people.’” We are biologically suited to thrive in groups of ~150, where everyone has a purpose and that purpose is always related to supporting the health of the group. But we don’t live in groups of 150. We’re connected to billions of people around the world, but we’re often alone.

As we go about our lives, occasionally we meet people who we’d really like to pair up with, either as friends, romantic partners, bandmates, business partners, drinking buddies, D&D teammates, or whatever. I call these people fellow travelers; my friend Carrie calls them “keepers.”

Churches, schools, and book clubs allow us to scale down the global village to include people with similar goals, priorities, and values. But we don’t all attend churches, play music, go to school, or have the time for a weekly book club. Just about all of us go to work. Rarely, when considering a new job opportunity, do we consider the likelihood of whether someone on the team will be a keeper. However important our work is and feels, when the work is done, it’s the friendships—the keepers—we’ll value above all else.

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