This past weekend I had an opportunity to go away overnight with some of the women that I work with. My normal mode of operation is to not do to much with the people I work with outside of work due to the fact that I'm at work so much! However, with my new position I've really been trying to work on building upon my relationships with my new peers and vice-president (this was suggested to me by one of my mentors). When I was asked to participate in the overnight shopping/spa excursion I was a little hesitant but I decided it would be a good opportunity to spend some time getting to know my VP on a little more personal level (it worked out well since no one in my family would have been home Friday night).
There are two points to this story - the first is I had an absolute blast and need to do this more often!!! We left work at lunch time and got to Chicago about 5pm which only left us 2 hours to shop. It's quite amazing what one can accomplish in 2 hours when one puts their mind to it. I bought a turtle neck, sweater wrap, purse, a shell for an existing suit, a cardigan sweater set plus a 'fun' going out long sleeve t-shirt. Lucky me, everything was on sale even though they weren't quite a cheap as I would have liked. We then checked into our hotel (which was a fantastic deal at $65/night for a Hyatt that included breakfast and a shuttle to take us everywhere) and got ready for dinner. We had dinner at Maggiano's (a delicious Italian place) followed by drinks at a local club. I do have to say we were so tired from the day that we only stayed for one drink and were back in our rooms asleep by midnight.
The next morning we woke up and went for spa treatments. I had a massage (not quite as good as my regular lady) and a pedicure. At first I wasn't real keen on the women I work with seeing my without my hair and makeup done - or my feet being taken care of - however we all really had a good time getting everything done. We pretty much hit the road right after that so that we could get home to our families. I was SOOO relaxed the rest of the weekend it was amazing. The few hours that I didn't spend with the family was well worth how good I felt and I expressed it in my dealings with the family. Sometimes in our busy lives we forget that we need to take care of ourselves if we want to do a good job of taking care of the family.
The second point is that networking is really a good thing. It's very easy to get caught up in the 'I don't want to spend any more time away from my family' and that is a very valid excuse. However, if you are looking at moving your career along you really do need to take the time and nurture it. We all have season in our life and the season may be that you just need to go to work, do the best and can and then leave. There's nothing wrong with that, but I would encourage you to remember that how you act today is what sticks in your co-workers minds. By developing relationships (not brown-nosing) with your peers as well as those at higher levels it really gives them the opportunity to get to know you on a personal level. When promotion opportunities come up, if you have the skills the additional staff members pulling for you may help you get the job. It doesn't always have to be something as big as a get away weekend. It could be going down to the cafeteria at lunch, taking a break together or going out to a local restaurant after work for coffee and desert. Just like your family, a career needs a little nurturing and attention if it's going to thrive.
If nothing else, make sure to take the time for yourself!! It's something I going to try to do more of.