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You need a friend - Part 1

Frank Hutton
Human pyramid

Actually, you probably need a few of them, if you are to have any success moving your career change, business idea or challenging job search ahead.

Strangely, many of us have been brought up to think of needing other people in our own everyday life as something of a weakness or embarrassment. Our ability to work in groups has been the key factor in the success of the human species. How odd it is that we in the west view such behaviour as imperfect.

We don't criticise football teams for needing different types of player to help them to reach a goal. We accept that in work, our colleagues are there to be part of a whole, reaching a business outcome (or at least should be). But when it comes to sorting ourselves out, well ...we obviously have to fly solo, don't we?

Sadly too many people do exactly that when it comes to making a change in their working life, and find it a real struggle as a consequence. So I'll be sharing some tips and encouragement over the next few weeks or so to help you build a group  of people around you to make that journey not just successful but enjoyable!

Job Search buddy

Are you looking for work at the moment? Do you have someone in your network of friends or acquaintances who is also looking for work? It doesn’t have to be someone you know well. In fact, it’s often better if you know them a little less well.

Pitch them the idea of meeting for a coffee to share experiences and chew the cud. If nothing else you’ll know you're sitting next to someone who is experiencing what you are. You may be surprised at how cathartic this is. Try not to dwell on the negatives alone but try and find a positive here and there to encourage your buddy in return. You'll feel better for doing that.

Perhaps expand the idea if you are planning a bigger change, say starting your own business. Why not gather a small group of people, either together or separately, who can be your 'board of reference'.

Try and choose people from different parts of your life and preferably someone you know will be truthful with you.

Try and choose people from a variety of different parts of your life (work, play, family) and preferably ones you know will be truthful with you. Their input can be invaluable in validating a plan about which you are slightly nervous. They can also remind you of the realities that lie ahead.

Some people find the help of a career coach helpful in this respect and if you can find one you really click with, they can be great. But there's no substitute for someone who isn't doing it for the money. Don't treat this process as a one off event. A shared experience of this nature will produce long lasting bonds and you may be asked to return the favour, increasing your own self-esteem by offering you a chance to give back.

It may not be an easy option to make yourself a little vulnerable in this way, but it's well worth the result. What have you got to lose?