If you’re like many of us, your work and social life overlap. Soon after you accept a new job offer, you realize the transition is going to affect your personal relationships as well as your professional activities. Consider these steps to take before and after you start your new gig to help you maintain old ties, and build new friendships.
Steps to Take Before You Change Jobs
- Hang out outside of work. There’s more to you than your professional interests. Invite interesting colleagues to go out shopping or hiking. Meet people from other walks of life.
- Volunteer in your community. Help your community while you expand your social circle. Anyone attending a fundraiser for a local animal shelter probably shares your love for dogs. Working side by side to clean up a park gives you time to talk with other volunteers.
- Chat online. Virtual friends are an interesting supplement to your usual mates from school and work. Learn what bands and food trucks are popular in Los Angeles or Philadelphia.
- Join a club. You can find a club to match any interest. Browse online for Meetup listings or ask your librarian to recommend a book club for young professionals who love Jane Austen and vampire novels.
- Take a walk. It’s sometimes easier to talk with people while you’re engaged in a physical activity. Greet your neighbors while you stroll around the block.
- Stay in touch. Call your former manager or personal assistant once in a while. Communicating with former colleagues will help to prepare you for the day you move on.
- Participate in your professional society. Business groups are another great source of professional connections that are independent of any one job you may hold. Sign up for the welcoming committee or help plan the monthly luncheons.
Steps to Take After You Change Jobs
- Assess the culture. Use your orientation period to continue sizing up the company culture. Do staff members from different departments gather together for lunch in the break room? Is the softball league looking for a new catcher? Look for ways to fit in.
- Take initiative. Introduce yourself around the office. Strike up a conversation while you make copies or pick up your mail.
- Start small. Trying to meet the entire staff could be overwhelming. Begin focusing on one or two people who seem compatible. Invite them out to lunch or ask them about their children and hobbies.
- Share personal information. As appropriate, divulge some details about the inner you. Hang up photos of you and your family. Let your coworkers know that you’re entering a Tough Mudder competition next weekend.
- Listen attentively. Showing a sincere interest in others is one of the most effective ways to draw people to you. Thank your colleagues for giving you pointers on how to settle in. Ask questions that show you’re listening. Follow up when a team member tells you they’re redecorating their living room or their son is taking a big test.
- Give generously. Let your colleagues know they can count on you. Speak up in staff meetings to recommend a quicker way to enter data. Pitch in on special projects. Bake a batch of cookies and set them out in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy.
- Be patient. It will probably take some time to feel at home. Enjoy meeting new people and sharing your experiences.
Stay social while you change jobs. You’ll probably hold many different positions during your working life, but your social network is a lasting asset that enriches all your activities. Stay in touch with the colleagues you cherish and open your heart to making new connections.
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