Why It’s Important to Say “Yes” To That After Work
I recently had a discussion with someone who is frustrated that they are working really hard for their company, but seem to get passed up for bigger projects and promotions. They went on to tell me that this has happened more than a few times in the past couple of years. Upon further probing, I approached the topic of how much networking this person does within their organization and how well they know and interact with others in their work place environment.
I’m glad I took the conversation in that direction because what it revealed is that this person works really hard for the company – comes in early and sometimes leaves late. However, they never really take out the time to engage in after-work happy hours with co-workers or participate in other “after-work” type events. They usually eat lunch by themselves at their desk. They really don’t go the extra mile to learn more about their co-workers beyond the work they do in the office. I totally understand how people don’t like sharing too much of their personal life in the office. Some would even say they don’t like to “mix business with pleasure”. If you are one of those people, I want you to consider this: Your non-participation in after hours work functions or willingness to get to know others in your office or on your teams, may be resulting in you being passed over for opportunities within the organization!
Working hard is simply not enough anymore. You have to get to know people in your organization personally to even have your name considered in conversations for promotions and greater opportunities. I’m by no means suggesting you should go to an after-work Happy Hour, sling back 5 beers and talk about all the problems you and your significant other are having at home just so you can relate to your co-workers. What I am saying is that when people know more about you as a person and feel they can vibe with your personality, you become more than just an employee. You become part of the team. You can often learn much more about people over dinner, coffee or lunch than you do in the traditional work environment! Go out and make those connections that matter!
Even if you are not a “drinker”, per se, head to Happy Hour with your colleagues anyways and enjoy a mocktail, a soda, or appetizers. What’s important is that you are taking part in the conversation so that your name is considered during those major conversations that matter!
Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Entrepreneurship for College Students and Young Professionals.