Truly I am fortunate to have made good relationships with many of my clients at work, getting closer with some of them than my colleagues to be honest. Those clients that I have worked with for some time know all about my life beyond work and about Joshua, as I must talk about him all the time. This was brought home to me yesterday as I had meetings with two ex-clients yesterday and had an email from another, and all three asked after his well-being, which touched me. All three clients have now moved on to either another role in the same company or have moved organisations, but I am not currently working with any of them. So I am moved that they like to keep in touch, but also that they remember and care enough about Joshua, to ask after him and to keep up to date.
Not all of my clients know about him, only those that I have grown friendly with over time and those that have shared about their family lives and so I have reciprocated and these are my favourite kind of clients. I worked with the two that I met yesterday for over five years together and during that time, they will have had some insight into my life with Joshua: I can recall cancelling more than one meeting due to Joshua’s seizure activity, I was working with both when Joshua was hospiatlised in 2010 and both of them knew about the decision-making process we underwent in 2013, agonising over whether or not to opt for brain surgery and supported us through the recovery period in 2014. That sounds as though I was unprofessional, sharing all about my private life with anyone who would listen, but we had that kind of working relationship, that meant we showed a real interest in what was going on in each other’s lives and we were able to support each other through the various crises that we faced while working together.
I can remember my boss, and mentor, once telling me that I should not fool myself into thinking of my clients as friends, that once the work reason had disappeared, that they would drop me like a stone. That has certainly been true for the majority of ex-clients but there are one or two who I have stayed in touch with and whenever I am in their area, I will get in touch to see if they would like to meet up for a coffee and a chat. These meetings are not about generating new business for our company, but they are because I felt a genuine connection with them, while working together, and because I miss seeing them and sharing their news. To have that opportunity, even though we no longer work together, is a real privilege. I meet a lot of people in my life and some simply come and go, but others are worth investing more time in, truly.