A survey from SHRM found that having friends at work is an important factor in employee retention. In my case, I have the most amazing and real relationships with some of the teammates I left behind when I went out on my own to begin my consulting business. So it certainly contributed to my happiness and engagement level while I was with that employer, but it didn’t keep me from leaving when the time was right. What’s so wonderful is that I’m able to keep in daily contact with them, and have regular lunches and happy hours to keep from feeling like I’ve lost the connection.
I’m going to sound like an old lady now, but in the olden days when I began my career, during the dawn of the internal email system age (and before the Internet was widely available) AND, importantly, well before cell phones, when you left an employer, you really left. There was very little you could do (without spending a ton of time and effort) to keep in touch with your work buddies unless you were still in their direct professional orbits.
So sad…I’ve lost touch with countless people that way over the years. LinkedIn has helped-many of them have reappeared to connect with me so I can celebrate all of their rock-star accomplishments with them.
But back to today: I’m so grateful to be able to take my friends with me wherever I go. They’re only a text away. And they are, every one of them, critical to my success, wherever I’m working from. I need their support, sense of humor, and fresh ideas to inspire me. HR is like that…a tribe of folks who understand, who have been in the strangest of situations, and when they hear your stories, they just nod knowingly and touch your shoulder and say, “hang in there.” And then they laugh, and you do too.
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