I originally planned to take some time off last week. It’s not exactly spring break, but the UK has public holidays last Friday and next Monday. The schools and universities tend to be closed as well. Many people take additional days around this time…for obvious reasons.
In the end I worked all the way through to Thursday. We had guests on site Thursday and I wanted to be present. I even came to work in a suit. Thursday was a great day. Wednesday was a hectic day. I participated in three discussion groups and one global meeting. But at least I didn’t have to wear a suit. I went straight from work to dinner with our Thursday guests…a long day.
I thought I recognized the name of one of Thursday’s visitors, but I wasn’t sure. Sometimes there seem to be as many people I think I know – but who I don’t – as there are I do. In this case it was someone I knew. Someone I had worked alongside for many years, but someone whose path diverged from mine (in a very positive way) some seven or eight years ago.
It is always good – and more enjoyable – to part company on good terms, or better yet on great terms. This may not always be that easy but it is always the right thing to do. Ours is a ‘small’ industry. The likelihood that we will all meet again, if not work together again, is high and only getting higher.
It is good because ours is a relationships based business. People do work for each other and with each other. People generate and interpret data. People ask for help and make commitments. Everything we do is about trust and confidence. And both trust and confidence develop over time, and both develop as relationships develop….something that is as true for personal relationships as it for business.
Which means of course that us investing in our own networks of relationships is as helpful as it is enjoyable. Of course nobody ever makes a business decision based on a personal relationship. But nevertheless our networks are just so important. For example some incredible percentage of recruitment these days is at least initiated via networks contacts – someone we know tells us about an opportunity they think we may be interested in and suitable for…
Meeting someone I had not interacted with for several years on a Wednesday night in April was as enjoyable as it was helpful. Shared experiences always come flooding back in these moments…and over the next day or so.
Creating and investing in new relationships is also important – sharing new experiences and building trust. And it is also very enjoyable. In our industry we tend to have much in common with each other…in background and in outlook…both of which can form a strong basis for positive relationships.
We do science together. We carry out research. We seek to establish novel facts, to identify solutions to new – or sometimes existing – problems, we test untested ideas. No matter how much we think know, there is always more we don’t know. Unexpected events are just that – unexpected. Sometimes we discover exciting and positive data…and sometimes we don’t.
Whichever it is, we find it out together and we learn together. We share elation and heartache. We advance our research and we advance our relationships. Both are essential. Both are rewarding.
Interestingly enough though, as I left dinner last week, I realized that although I could vividly remember times when I worked with my old contact, for the life of me I couldn’t recall what it was we worked on together.