You never know where the inspiration for an entry is going to come from, but this one really doesn’t surprise me. I went to a Bruce Cockburn concert on Saturday night. He’s an amazing performer and at 63 is still energetic, relevant, and inspiring. His latest album is entitled, “Life Short, Call Now.” This combined with a phone call from a friend who was recently laid off from a company that he spent 10 years writing software for. As when I left the same company, I knew how much the help and support of friends would be in finding new work and determining what direction his career and life might go.
You hear people talk about networking all the time. Here’s a simpler and less buzzwordish way of putting things: make friends at work and stay in touch with them. The first part is easy. I’ve got friends from every place that I’ve worked. Spending at least eight hours with people, it’s hard not to become friends with many of them. The important thing is to keep in touch with them. Besides just keeping your friends, you’ll also have contacts later. I’m not saying that you should keep in touch with people purely for future contact reasons, although you can. Keeping in touch is simply nice and it has the fringe benefit of helping you in the future.
I’ve lost touch with many of my old colleagues due to moves and generally being busy. What I’ve found, however, is that every time I return to a town where I used to work and get in touch with an old friend, I’m always glad I did. Usually it’s like I’ve never left and the conversation is at the same comfort level as if we just saw each other yesterday. Do yourself a favor for both your personal and career health – give an old friend a call. Bruce had it right: Life Short, Call Now.