The workplace often provides some of the most significant friendships, and when it‘s time for you to move on, you shouldn‘t leave those friendships behind. Staying in touch with former coworkers and bosses is a vital part of creating a network that can help support you in your career.
When you leave one job for another, there can be a tendency to try to put everything about the old job behind you, especially if it wasn‘t an overall happy experience. You want to focus on learning your new position and making a positive impression on your new manager and coworkers.
And even though you might have had a warm relationship when you worked with them, it can feel awkward to contact past coworkers after you have left. So, here are some suggestions for staying in touch in a way that won‘t make you feel uncomfortable but will help you keep those valuable professional connections.
Don‘t wait too long to contact them
Contact any coworkers you want to stay connected with no longer than a month after you leave your old job. That lets them know that you want to remain connected and on good terms. Then, check–in with them every month or two as you’re able. Email is typically the most comfortable method to begin this new phase of your relationship.
Keep it personal
When you get in touch with former coworkers, talk about the same things that were important to both of you when you worked together. Ask about their families, their vacations, or hobbies/interests that you shared. Tell them about anything significant (or even minor happenings) in your life. Talking about the personal things that were important in your relationship will dismiss any thoughts that you called for any reason other than maintaining friendship.
What if you do lose touch?
Unfortunately, a lot of workplace relationships do end when one of them moves on. If that’s the case with you, you’ll need to start things all over. This might feel even more awkward, and it usually takes more effort, but it is always possible to rekindle a former professional relationship and nurture it so it grows once more.
Once again, make sure you reach out in a personal way. Keep in mind that continuing this relationship will be beneficial to both you and your past coworker, giving you both a boost in credibility and reputation in your professional networks. No longer sharing an employer is no reason to let those meaningful connections and friendships slip away!
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