Staying in Touch: Moving On Doesn’t Have To Mean Cutting Ties
by Cassidy Charles, Senior Assistant, INALJ NYC
Staying in contact with someone after a move or a transition is rough. You go from seeing them on a regular basis or communicating regularly to not seeing them as much and infrequent talks. You get a new job, they move, email addresses change. Losing contact is something that happens –except that it does not have to happen and staying in contact with previous co-workers can be beneficial to your job hunt and career.
Maintaining friendships is not only emotionally beneficial, but keeping in touch with former co-workers-turned friends can also be helpful for learning more about the immediate community in your field. They may be on the same career step as you or perhaps have a few more years under their belt. Either way can provide a different perspective on situation or knowledge on a topic that you may not have.
Here are several ways in which you can stay connected:
Call – Easy and simple enough. Some consider phone calls overrated when texting can suffice, but a regular, standing phone call routine or a spontaneous call in the middle of a rough week can make all the difference emotionally and mentally.
Email – If you still have that person’s current contact email, send them an email periodically to see what they are up and talk about anything that is going on with you. They may be very happy to see an email or fun eCard in their inbox that is not from a spambot, newsletter or another listserv.
Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+…there is a variety of ways to stay connected online and share information with others. These platforms can also bring co-workers from multiple previous employers of yours together and provide for a rich dialogue.
Coffee – Every few weeks I meet with a former co-worker to discuss what is new with our respective libraries, in addition to what is new in our personal lives. We did not intend on this being time being career talk time, but I always walk away feeling happy and motivated to be in the LIS field.
Mail – Once the only means of long distance communication, post mail is now a modern novelty. This mode of communication can be especially fun with postcards. Holiday cards are the expected, but an unexpected, middle-of-the-season postcard can mean so much.
I also want to acknowledge that everyone’s workplace culture and relationships in those workplaces are different. Perhaps you have worked in places that do not value socializing and have not be able to form collegial relationships. In that case, I would recommend getting involved with your state’s ALA chapter or a relevant professional association to begin developing your network and making connections.
This topic is not unrelated to networking, except that the emphasis is less on seeking out new contacts but more on cultivating existing contacts and relationships. I would not be where I am today had I not kept in contact with a former co-worker who had connections in my state’s library community – even though we had meet in a completely different state! You never know who someone knows until you engage and discuss!
Have you stayed in contact with former co-workers? How have you maintained your friendship?