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After more than ten years I started a new job last summer, so it´s been near on half a year in my new job. I absolutely love my new job and like my new colleagues.

I liked my former colleagues, too. There´s not a single person I liked so much to call them a real friend, but it was the team as a whole that I really liked.

Though we said we´ll keep in touch and I met two of those colleagues incidentally while shopping, I feel contact has broken up. I´d absolutely like to fix that. I feel somewhat awkward simply calling someone, though. To get them all (or some of them) together to talk I´d have to rely on someone "inside" my former employer to organise, e.g. going out for a drink, and I don´t know how to start such a conversation.

Am I right about feeling awkward? If not: How should I start communication? Is it even usual what I´m intending?

I´ve got mobile numbers of most of them - and most of them have WhatsApp. During work hours I can´t call, because of strict rules in their company. Either way: should I call or write?

The goal on my side of contacting them: I´d love to exchange work experiences. What moved for them, what do we work like where I am now, I think I can even solve at least one of their (minor) issues we had with my new experiences, which I would love to talk about. I just like to chat about work here and there. Like we always did when I still worked there.

Side notes:

  • For my former colleagues things aren´t going so well as we´re running towards recession and my former employer has already been hit, meaning pay cuts etc. for my former colleagues - while my new employer usually gets soaring during national recession. I gave in notice before word of recession was spreading. I´m somewhat gleeing inside, but don´t want to be harsh on them.
  • my current company isn´t looking for new employees (in our specific job) neither, so should we meet it will be no job board for either side. Just exchanging experiences
  • one of my former colleagues (with whom I was working most of the time) sees me as a traitor because I left. He´s a former military valuing "loyalty" pretty high. I´m pretty sad about that as we worked pretty close for several years, but I will (have to) accept if he doesn´t want to talk to me anymore.
  • some of my former colleagues kept visiting each other at home, and I sometimes participated. So inviting them to my home would for sure be the simplest way to get in touch. But I was the only female in the department, I´m married and my husband made it clear, even when I still worked there, he doesn´t want them here. I respect his opinion, especially since there´s one colleague that likes drinking and likes staying overnight wherever he is, which even I would find awkward. So inviting them here is no option. But of course I can´t invite them to someone else´s home...

PS: I thought about posting that question to interpersonal instead. Tell me if it´s better off there.

  • Isn't this not just the way of things? We are colleagues we get along, maybe have some social interaction now and again but then we leave to a new place and we loose touch. – user180146 Nov 11 '19 at 15:00
  • Ask yourself how you would feel if a former coworker you were friendly with randomly called you to catch up. Would feel pretty good, right? – DetectivePikachu Nov 11 '19 at 17:50
  • Just do it. Don't overthink it. Drinks, coffee, BBQ, poker, etc. It's all perfectly normal. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 11 '19 at 21:03
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If you're not comfortable for e-mail/ call / text / in-person meeting to start with, professional networking sites are made just for cases like this. One of the most widely used sites is LinkedIn.

If you're friends with them more than in a professional setup, you can consider inviting / adding them in your personal social networking sites, too. Then, based on your level of comfort, you can start calling them up or invite for a meeting in a cafe / restaurant.

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Of course you should keep in touch with your former colleagues if you want. It's absolutely nothing to feel awkward about. Quite the opposite: this is important "social capital."

For those who live in the same city/region, pick a date, time, and venue (pub? restaurant?). Announce a get-together by text / email / linkedin / whatever and ask people to pass it along to others they know.

I worked for one place that was acquired (Apollo Computer, Inc). For years afterward we had an annual get-together. It got big enough that we had to make an arrangement with a local hotel to use their biggest meeting room. (The hotel charged for a bunch of snack foods, and there was a cash bar.) It was great. You can do the same.

It's a valuable networking opportunity for those who need something new to do. And, it's great to hear what your old co-workers are up to.

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