Is it a good idea to stay friends with old clients and colleagues?

Yesterday was officially my last day working for Coast Digital. After spending just under a year with the online marketing agency and learning far more than I ever could have imagined about SEO, PPC, analytics, online usability testing, website design and build, I’m now looking forward to returning to work on some offline marketing projects – while retaining a healthy dose of online, too.

It’s always a difficult decision to leave an agency – particularly a small one. Not only do you leave behind the colleagues that you’ve spent days on end with, but it also means saying goodbye to the clients that you’ve worked alongside and who you will have, inevitably, learnt an awful lot from along the way.

I had the pleasure of catching up with some colleagues and friends from my first agency, Berkeley PR, last week and I’m so glad that I took the time to visit them. While many things have remained the same there, it was an absolute delight to hear about the new projects that are now occupying their days, their latest success stories and exciting changes in their personal lives too.

Now that we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and a whole host of other networking tools at our disposal, keeping in touch with old colleagues has never been so easy. I don’t think that anyone should leave an agency on bad terms if it’s at all avoidable. After all, those colleagues and clients will have contributed an immeasuable amount to your professional achievements and development. Whether you choose to stay connected to your managers, your trainees, your suppliers or your clients, each one of those connections has played a huge role in the kind of employee that you are now and may determine the direction that your career takes in the future.

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