The Engineer: Friendships in your Industry
Hi Everyone! Hope you guys are having a good week and a great start to the last quarter of the year! This week, we’re talking about having friends within your industry.
As you go in to your career, you will hopefully meet tons of people that you can add to your network (if you missed my post on networking, you can check it out here) and some of those networking relationships can grow into genuine friendships. Having friends within your industry is really important for you to grow in your career. Here are my reasons on why it’s important:
You have someone who knows you and understands your work.
When I get frustrated about something at work, I want to vent to someone about it. For me, I don’t always feel comfortable venting to someone I feel is more senior than me and I don’t necessarily feel comfortable talking to my colleagues about it either. Having a peer that I can really just sit down and just think through my struggles at work is so relieving and their response comes from a place where they can really empathize because they too share the same struggles and frustrations so they can help me better navigate my feelings and know how to proceed further.
You can reach out for help.
One day at work I was coding and I had this bug that I couldn’t figure out. I sat there for hours and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong and how. I could solve this issue. Getting frustrated, I decided to ping one of my friends at work and say “Hey, can you take a look at this? I’m stuck.” In about 20 minutes we were able to figure out what was going on and I could continue working on my project. When I’m coding and I’m staring at it for so long, I don’t notice the mistakes that I’m making right away. Having a fresh pair of eyes can really help you out when you feel stuck. I feel much more comfortable asking a friend to sit with me and debug rather than asking my manager (especially when it’s something so simple because that’s really embarrassing). Having someone you feel comfortable asking to help you only helps your confidence when solving problems.
You have a stronger networking relationship that can lead to future opportunities.
One of the things that I said in my networking post is that you want to make sure the people in your network know you and can vouch for you if an opportunity that presents itself. If that person is your friend, it only makes the that connection even better. A couple weeks ago at work I was talking to my friend who is on one of the pillars for the Women in Engineering network at work and she asked me if I’ve ever given a talk at work before. I told her no and she responded with “I’m going to recommend you to speak at this event next quarter.” I was honored that she had thought about me to speak at an event at work but also proud of the fact that I have positioned myself who is not only a friend but someone who can be recommended to other people.
Fueling your ecosystem.
I say this all the time to my friends that we are all contributing to the ecosystem. An ecosystem where I’m learning new things as well as imparting my own perspective. If I hear or see something that I think may be relevant to one of my friends I pass that information along. If they see something that I would find relevant or interesting they pass it along to me. From there we are all growing with each other, moving towards our individual next steps while making sure we all move upward. Friendships like these are very important to me because it shows me that they truly care for me and wish the best for me just as I wish the best for them. These are the friendships that last a lifetime.
Your industry friendships don’t have to be people that work at your company they don’t even necessarily need to be in your city. It’s important that you work to maintain these relationships to grow professionally and personally. - The Engineer