The longer I am in the workforce, the more I realize how important it is to build strong relationships with your co-workers and your management team. Today I was going through all of my contacts at one of my former employers on LinkedIn and it absolutely blew me away that 95% of the employees that I knew and worked with were no longer working at that company. I absolutely could not believe it. Some of the people that worked with me I could have sworn were life- time employees of that company.
How wrong I was!
Some companies are great at retaining employees. Some are better than others at retaining employees. In this market I am seeing people jump ship left and right to try something new. I want you to realize something REALLY QUICKLY. You WILL MAKE A JOB CHANGE! Your boss will make a job change. Your co-workers will make a job change. The company’s management team will make job changes. It is a matter of WHEN, not IF you make your change!! People will all leave at different times, but you will look up one day like I did today and realize that most everyone you worked with have moved on to other opportunities.
Be careful what you say to the people you work with. Don’t burn bridges!
Look, you are joined at the hip with your co-workers for a moment in time. A BRIEF moment in time. Let’s say you live to be 80 years old and you worked with someone 5 years. That is a brief, wouldn’t you say? The thing is, your career is made up of a number of brief moments. Even if you are at a company for 10 years, I can almost guarantee you that you have had multiple managers and multiple roles. This is imperative to understand if you are to move ahead in your career.
The web and social media have made it easier than ever to stay in touch with people. You know where people are working. You know what people are saying. It is easy to keep tabs on people. If you use the social tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype, Google Hangouts and others correctly, you can always be one quick conversation away from your new job or next career. It would be nice to grab a cup of coffee with everyone, but sometimes it is just not feasible. Look, I live in Austin- one of the fastest growing cities in the US – and most of my conversations happen over social media because sitting in traffic for 2 hours to meet someone for coffee sounds like utter hell.
I have been outspoken about Personal Brand and I truly believe that people will know you by WHO you are, not WHAT COMPANY YOU WORK FOR. Do not let a company define who you are. If you let a company define who you are, I can promise you will lose yourself somewhere along the way.
Jobs are like getting on and off a carousel. Align yourself with the right people and make relationships last. You never know how that relationship might impact your next career move. Remember, it truly is a brief period of time you will work with someone at a specific company. Companies change, but you will run into the same people over and over throughout your career. If you look at a career like this, job hunting will never be hard again!