How To Master Maintaining Relationships When Switching Jobs

Congrats on your new job! While leaving a company to join another can be scary, I think you’ve made the right call, you were ready for a change.

You’re gone, but not forgotten…literally. Those colleagues of yours, now ex-colleagues, still exist. When you’re at your new desk trying to get a handle on your new role (in your new organization while building relationships with new colleagues), your old colleagues are calling and emailing to set up a coffee or lunch to catch up and swap stories. This is all in addition to the fact that you might still have that family at home or that personal life that has a bunch of commitments in it. How do you deal with all of this?

Admit that the dynamic has changed.

  • Your ex-colleagues are now members of your professional network, personal friends, or both.
  • You’ll need to figure out who slots where on a case-by-case basis but doing so will allow you to determine how, and when, to keep in touch with them.

Safeguard your time

  • Don’t meet with your ex-colleagues during business hours for the first quarter of you being in your new job.
  • You need to focus on crushing it at your new job, it takes a lot of effort and people understand that.
  • Draft an update email that lets people know that you miss them and update them on what’s new with you. Send this as a group email or copy and paste this into individual emails and personalize each email as needed.
  • Your ex-colleagues that are friends need to be slotted into your personal commitments time and if you can’t find the time in there to give to them, you’re probably not friends.
  • Schedule one-to-many catch-ups.
  • When you do finally get time to reconnect with old colleagues, carve out a time block and send an invite to them all to come meet you at a bar or coffee shop for a drink. Get the re-connections done all at once.

Invest Wisely

  • For those few ex-colleagues that can hire you in the future, or bolster your career in some way, you should be making a greater effort to maintain the connection.
  • In these cases do make an effort to let them know they’re appreciated and try to add value to them. After all, you’ve seen some things since leaving, let them benefit from your new experiences in an appropriate way (I don’t want you going all Bud Fox in Wall Street on me).
  • For those who nourish your soul, you should also be making an effort to maintain the relationship
  • Whether it’s them being a blast to hang out with or them challenging you mentally, if people enrich your life, keep them around.

In summary, you’re going to collect plenty of ex-colleagues over your career but you’ll always only have 24 hours in a day. Categorize people appropriately:

  1. Family/Friends
  2. Current Employer/Your own career
  3. Ex-colleagues/Acquaintances

Structure your days in such a way that you’re able to continue being a rock star at work while also maintaining relationships that are important to you.

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