Opinion | Work Friends Can Last a Lifetime – The New York Times

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To the Editor:
Re “The Magic of Your First Work Friends,” by Emma Goldberg (Sunday Business, July 17):
Over the past months, as I recommitted to scheduling coffee and drink dates with my professional friends, our conversations landed on this question: “How will this current generation thrive without the benefit of strong workplace friendships?”
The special friendships one builds by showing up and working in the shared office environment help with navigating a work culture, learning to manage one’s boss or even discovering when it’s time to move on and pursue new opportunities.
I also think about how these friendships propel one’s professional life. Engaging in professional associations, volunteering through business networks and supporting a colleague’s professional goals add to a sense of belonging and community, and allow for a fulfilling work life.
My career has spanned nearly four decades, and the friendships I have built over the years have stood the test of time. I cherish these friendships. They have supported me throughout all of life’s ups and downs. Let’s encourage this next generation to show up at the office and reap the benefits of workplace friendships.
Beth Kramer
Needham, Mass.
To the Editor:
In 2010, I married my college sweetheart, Richard Traub (we both graduated from N.Y.U. in 1968), after having spent nearly 45 years apart. He found me on Facebook in 2009, and our conversation resumed as though it had never been interrupted. But we had a lot of details to fill each other in on.
We decided to have a formal wedding. We each drew up a wedding guest list, and when I produced 100 or so guests, all dear and close friends, he asked me, “How do you know all these people?” I said, “From work.”
I had never thought of these dear friends as “work friends” until I was asked that question. I hope young people soon again get the chance to form these precious relationships. They are life-sustaining and life-enhancing. I wouldn’t be the person I became without my friends.
Thea Volpe-Browne
Leonardo, N.J.
To the Editor:
Reading Emma Goldberg’s piece made me look back fondly on my first teaching job back in the day. I was one of four newly minted teachers who became fast friends, in and out of school, supporting each other in our new profession and learning from one another.
Forty-five years later, we are still learning from one another, and the things we taught each other in those early days have guided my whole career. Together we forged a bone-deep understanding that education is not only the way to change a child’s life, but also the way to change the world.
The four of us have taken different paths since then, but our friendship has endured, and we continue to share experiences and perspectives. Now that I’m on the verge of retirement, I am so grateful for those early workplace friendships, and I ache for the young people who only know their co-workers through the filter of a screen. What they gain from workplace flexibility they may lose in lifelong friendships and lifelong learning.
Debbie Zlotowitz
Brooklyn
The writer is the head of school at the Mary McDowell Friends School.
To the Editor:
My thoughts turn to young people working at their first jobs after graduation. I personally know of two instances in which recent graduates have moved to new states for work. They don’t know anyone in their new location. Their only contacts are through work.
I would hope that co-workers would make them feel welcome in a new, unfamiliar place by inviting them home for dinner, to a weekend BBQ or to a family holiday gathering. They could ask to have lunch together, to visit a local museum or go to a sports event.
Think that this might be your daughter, nephew or grandchild as they begin their working lives. How would you want their co-workers to reach out to them?
Mary Capron
Titusville, N.J.
To the Editor:
Out-of-Pocket Costs Put Americans Into Medical Debt,” by Aaron E. Carroll (Opinion guest essay, July 8), about rising health care costs, focuses on a symptom rather than its cause. High deductibles are a result of unaffordable care — not a driver.
By law, health insurance must spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care. Therefore, health insurance costs are driven by the underlying prices of care, including hospitals, prescriptions and services that plans are mandated to cover. Some plans offer higher deductibles as a way to lower premiums — a choice that allows more consumers to obtain coverage.
When drugmakers, health systems and other care providers operate with little to no competition — or new policies impose expanded coverage mandates — health insurance providers have reduced leverage to negotiate lower costs.
We need more competition to lower both premiums and deductibles. Spurring more robust competition must be a greater priority to provide Americans with more choices, better quality and lower costs.
Matt Eyles
Washington
The writer is president and C.E.O. of America’s Health Insurance Plans.
To the Editor:
Recent articles on the climate crisis place the blame on Senator Joe Manchin (initially blocking climate legislation), the war in Ukraine (forcing Europeans to abandon green initiatives), the G.O.P. (defending fossil fuel profits) and President Biden (refusing to declare a climate emergency).
But the most obvious enemy of Mother Earth is built into our energy economies, where about 70 percent of all the energy produced for transportation, industry and buildings is wasted, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Inefficiencies abound. Excess rules. The planet burns, floods and cries out for salvation.
Maria Fernandez
New York
To the Editor:
Re “Top Colleges Cling to Favoring Alumni’s Children” (front page, July 14):
It is difficult to justify college legacy admissions under any rationale other than money — the hope of a future advantage likely fuels regular donations by alumni who are raising children, and presumably legacy applicants are more likely to pay a higher percentage of full tuition at many schools.
But is this a bad thing? Exorbitant sticker price notwithstanding, many elite U.S. universities make laudable efforts to offer need-blind admissions and full financial aid. Money to establish and maintain those commitments needs to come from somewhere, and athletic department revenues are effectively nonexistent for Ivy League schools.
Ron Johnstone
Burlingame, Calif.
To the Editor:
In “Can Psychedelics Heal Depression Without Trips? (Sunday Opinion, July 17), Dana G. Smith writes, “At stake in this debate is not only the intellectual question of how drugs that take you to hell and back can cure your depression.”
As one who fully participated in the psychedelic options of the late 1960s and early ’70s (including approximately a dozen experiences with mushrooms), I find the phrase “to hell and back” to be a stereotypical dismissal of the experience. “To joy and back” would be more accurate, and many of my friends would agree.
Lynn Paul Richardson
Hilo, Hawaii
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