I started working at the age of 16 in a town where I knew everyone by first name basis. The thought of making new friends at work never crossed my mind until I went to college. My first job outside of high school was Jamba Juice, where tons of younger people work. Making friends here was simple, you just have to comment on their shoes!
Throughout college, I worked a variety of service industry jobs, where other young students worked. It was easy making new friends at work, they became family and a part of my daily life. Some colleagues became great mentors or intertwined in my network of professionals.
The key was to make friends with your customers, especially the regulars. There were countless times where I was offered a new job or requested to come work for people in industries which enticed me. Endless opportunities came from networking at work.
As I've moved up in my career, the diversity of colleagues increases, whether it be age, race, culture, or religion. I found my work to be more fruitful and the team collaborations have exceeded all expectations. With diversity among a team, there is room for each member to share their vast experiences and talents, allowing peak performance to take place.
Never underestimate the power of friendship in the workplace.