It’s normal. It’s natural; it’s the way of things. Over time, you find your go-to people at work…the ones you count on over and over again to tell you what’s what. These are the people you’ve known awhile; they think like you do…your people! It’s true that some of “your people” have moved on…taken jobs elsewhere…or nowhere. You don’t see them anymore. There’s plenty of the old crowd around…even if there are a lot of new people around, too.
Over the last few years, plenty of things have changed…more people are working from home or in split, hybrid situations. The company has changed… new leaders have arrived, some past leaders are gone, and new software and differing expectations are showing up everywhere. You’ve been around awhile, and plenty of people come to you for advice and direction.
The one thing you’re sure of…. YOU know the ropes. Still…that doesn’t stop you from wondering what you can do to stabilize your position at work; make sure you are solid in your position and always in the conversation when people discuss who should be considered for a bigger role. You want to be in a position to be considered for new and challenging at work.
The 3 Things
There are 3 things that you can begin doing today to stabilize and position yourself for future opportunities both inside and outside of your current company. The trick is to continue doing these three things for the rest of your working life.
It starts here. It seems so simple. It is not.
Friends help friends and often go out of their way to support each other. It’s the rare bird that hires, promotes, or applauds someone they don’t know or like. Your to-do: make friends with the people at work. Add unconventional friends…those in different departments, age groups, and interests. Those new people in the office don’t know you, and you don’t know them… add them to your work-friend roster. No infighting, no standoffishness, or territory disputes are allowed. People don’t have to attain best friend status, reveal their inner secrets, or even ”think like you do” to be a candidate for your work friend.
There are two great reasons to make friends. First, the more friends you have at work, the smoother your work-life flows. Second, the longer you stay in one place, the smaller and more homogenous your “friend set” can become. It’s a stabilizing career move to consciously broaden and continuously add to the list of people who know you and like you at work.
Make friends and keep them.
Another simple, not simple, career growth strategy. People are moving and changing companies more rapidly than in the past. It’s easy to fall away and lose track of past mentors, colleagues, and work friends. The average person has 12 jobs throughout a lifetime, with women changing on average every 3.9 years. That’s a lot of moving around. It’s even more important to stay in touch and share career successes and achievements..as well as bad jokes and funny stories… when the brick-and-mortar offices have changed, and neither you nor your work friends continue at your original meeting ground. LinkedIn is an excellent vehicle for keeping in touch with business friends… so is a quick email or any other apps you know and will use consistently.
The important career growth thought: keep all of your work friends, best friends, and supporters close and informed about your achievements and career moves. They are likely the source of your next job opportunity, referral, or reference.
Perform every day.
Perform every day; your work friends want to count on you as a great work partner.
Work is largely a 5 day a week activity, whether it’s from home, an office, or a truck in the field. Consistency and dependability are the underpinnings of doing good work. Leaders, coworkers, and customers ask the same question when evaluating you as a work colleague. That question is, “Can I depend on you to do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it?” Regardless of how ‘friendly” or kind or supportive you might be, if you are not consistent in your work habits and dependable on the delivery of your work product, no number of friends on LinkedIn can help you stabilize and grow your career.
The BIG Thought
Most of us will work over 90,000 hours, and that’s about a third of our lifetime consumed with our work. The best strategy for optimizing career growth and satisfaction during those 90,000 hours is to increase the number of people who know and like you. Keep in touch with your former colleagues and work friends. They know your strengths and what you are known for at work. These are the people who will support you and refer you to opportunities whenever they can.
It’s great to have an army of friends willing to sing your praises. Your part in that deal is to be worthy of their endorsement by consistently delivering your best work every day and staying in touch with them consistently and reliably.
Get out there! Make more work friends. Stay in touch with them. Be reliable and consistent in your work habits. Simple, not simple, advice to prove yourself worthy of all those friends.