Over the years we have been unconsciously conditioned to be skeptical and suspicious of strangers offering their help. Many of us would rather play it safe because we feel we’re putting ourselves in danger or feel said person has ulterior motives. I know I struggle with this internal battle frequently. I instantly think the worst-case scenario – Craigslist Killer, anyone? – and politely decline help. Random people on the streets offering help is one thing, but what about your friends, family, and co-workers?
Have you ever had a co-worker frantically trying to meet deadlines? They are pounding away on their keyboard, shuffling papers like crazy, and making the strangest sighing noises you’ve ever heard. Meanwhile, you’re calm at your desk and stretching work to last until the end of the day. Do you usually offer to help or sit in silence hoping to not be bothered?
If you’re like the majority of the population, you spend a good portion of your life with your co-workers. Whether you love them or hate them, you spend on average 40 hours a week (over 2,000 hours a year – give or take some vacation and sick time) with them! That’s possibly more time than you spend with your friends, parents, children, pets, etc.
At one point or another every person in your office will be overwhelmed with work and one day it might be you. Lending a hand has many benefits not only for your organization, but personally as well.
- Building trust among co-workers – Trust is important in any relationship and is crucial in the workforce. Knowing you can depend on each other is a vital component to workplace happiness.
- Improving team morale – When employees help one another, naturally morale improves. If someone feels they can’t rely on their co-workers it can affect how the team works together. This can delay projects and possibly cause friction between employees. However, the opposite is true when someone receives help. It creates a bond that instantly boosts teamwork.
- Learning new skills – Coming to the aid of a co-worker means you are likely to learn new skills as well. Even if you do the same job they do, you probably do it differently than one another. When you offer to help someone else there are many learning opportunities, which could also help boost your career forward.
- Self-satisfaction – You also get to feel good about helping out someone else. Your act of selflessness can enhance your overall sense of purpose and identity.
- Altruism is contagious – This is something others will be happy to catch from you. Altruism has a ripple effect and will encourage others to pay it forward.
It doesn’t cost a dime to help someone else; just your time. Many will argue that time is money. For some people that may be true, but for others the “helper’s high” may be all the reward they need. This simple change can mean all the difference in enjoying life, work, and your loved ones.
Member Services Coordinator
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555