One of my current favorite guilty pleasure TV shows handed out this nugget of wisdom recently, “Maybe some people should be around your entire life, and other should just make an appearance.” (No, I won’t tell you what ABC Family show it is, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Then I will allow the mocking to ensue.)
I find this is especially true as I’ve transitioned from journalism to the corporate world. Of the people I relied on daily for advice and guidance as a journalist, many have left the business and others see me as having gone over to the dark side and turn a cold shoulder. And yet, this doesn’t bother me.
A wise professor once told me to never apologize for leaving journalism, it isn’t as if I failed out of the seminary and disappointed God.
Some might suggest this means I’ve burned those bridges, I disagree. I’ve moved on and so have they. What brought us together in the first place changed. The people I had something in common with other than just our job titles, I keep in contact with even though our relationship has changed.
I do make it a point to keep up with past bosses I would like to continue to use as references. An e-mail here, an e-mail there. A holiday card during the holidays. I don’t ever want the relationship to feel forced or like I’m just using them.
Are there better ways to maintain relationships with those former colleagues who by necessity (former bosses) or choice will be around for your entire life?