This entry is inspired in part by my university course adviser.
There was no time she never seized the chance to mention the importance of maintaining relationships with our lecturers and colleagues. She encouraged us to text, call, keep in touch as much as we can as this could be of help down the line.
She was not wrong.
You see, networking remains one of the highest ways people land jobs. Here in Nigeria, Stutern did a report on graduates in 2018 and discovered 42.19% of respondents said they got their job through ‘contacts’. This was more than twice the closest group – those who got jobs through social media and similar (18.62%).
‘Having connects’ is not exactly a terrible thing. Don’t get me wrong. Yes, it’s been abused but a good reference sometimes even saves a company the stress of a hectic recruitment process. This may sound shocking, but it’s a common practice all over the world.
In this light, it is important to explore every avenue to building valuable, positive relationships because you never know what lies ahead. As a student, you may need to come to school one day to get a lectures recommendation for your Master’s degree programme. Trust me, you will not like reading the recommendation you’ll get from that lecturer that never knew you personally.
I have a friend who his lecturer recommended him for a full scholarship Ph.D program in the US. This wasn’t just because my friend was smart, lecturer and student had a relationship in school.
Building relationship in school
When I say building relationships or a network, this does not mean you become a bother. For most it is easier to get close to their course adviser or project supervisor. You can maintain positive relationships with lecturers you love their subject or an activity in common (campus fellowship, social gatherings, village meetings etc).
For your colleagues you don’t have to know the whole class, though it helps if you are popular in some way. In any case, leaving a positive impression is more than enough. Your roommates, lodge mates, departmental colleagues are a good place to start. Seek to at least check on those you’re closest to once in a while.
Building relationships in career
Do not be quick to burn bridges in the life, especially in the workplace. Of course there are times you walk away and don’t look back but some friendships built on a job can be kept. In your current work, your relationship with your superiors may be vital to your acceleration. This doesn’t mean you’ll become a ‘‘yes man’ all the time. There are times to be courteous yet assertive but in all seek to maintain at the very least, a good working relationship with work colleagues.
Building relationships for the shy
If you’re shy, reserved or like to keep to yourself there are ways to adjust your personality to maintain loose networks. Celebrating with people, checking on people once in a while is as simple as sending a few messages on WhatsApp or calling for two minutes. Those little seeds can germinate to great partnerships in the future. You have to be intentional about building these relationships regardless of your personality.
So remember, no man is an island. Your next break maybe through a text message from a high school friend or former work colleague. Build and sustain positive relationships as much as you can. You can’t go wrong with this.
“Wisdom is profitable to direct”.
Yes, please apply wisdom in choosing which relationships to nurture or abandon. One truth is you can’t please everybody. You can’t be friends with everyone, you just need to have a web of loose network who can remember you when there’s something good happening.
It’s like having that old friend who always remembers to message you about the latest scholarship or job opportunity.
Also be mindful of toxic relationships (like what #SexForGrades brought to fore lately). If a friendship is affecting you negatively take a cue from WizKid and let bad energy stay far away.
All in all, make friends, keep in touch more often and do not underestimate the power of relationship.