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Saying Goodbye Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

My oldest daughter left for college this year and I have to tell you, this was like a punch in the gut for my wife and me. This person we have raised and loved was not going to be living with us. Our family was changing and this was not easy for us to accept. Saying goodbye is a hard thing to do.

I have had many people in my professional career that I have also had to say goodbye to in one form or another. These people are important to me as they helped shape who I have become in my career. These are former coworkers, bosses, vendors and customers.

Some of these people have retired, left the industry, changed companies or are now a competitor. Regardless of the situation, they are not people I have as much reason to see or talk with as much. However, now more than ever, we should be keeping in touch and reaching out.

Keep in touch, in-person or online

I love when I get together with some of my old sales team from another life. They are all killing it and I am very proud of them. I sometimes feel like the head coach with the tree of assistants who are now head coaches themselves. We gather and reminisce about old times and have some great laughs and sometimes at my expense. Heck, I even buy some stuff from some of them and sometimes they bring me opportunities to collaborate. Maybe I wasn’t such a jerk as a boss...

As I have said in my past blogs, I travel a good deal for my job. One of the benefits is I have the chance to meet up with some of my former classmates, coworkers and customers around the country. Perhaps we grab a quick coffee, beer or a bite to eat. No matter what it is or the amount of time we get together I always leave feeling better. Many of these people have offered up advice and counsel to me when things have come up for me, whether it be with work or family. They understand me and the business and it is invaluable to get their opinions and thoughts.

There are so many ways to stay in touch now with social media and email/texts that there is no reason not to. Our industry can be very large and overwhelming, but it also can be small if you want it to.

Go to industry events

In our industry, going to events like golf outings, local glass shows/Glassbuild and BEC are the perfect way to keep in touch.  These events are like Homecoming in school. What better opportunity to mingle and chat with so many people you haven’t seen in a while in a relaxed setting. Even if you may be competing for customers or projects with some of your old colleagues it doesn’t mean you cannot be friends. Make a point to tell an old boss what they meant to you and your development. Introduce a vendor you cannot use anymore to someone who they can help. Grab a bite to eat with someone who you interacted with that is now retired.

Just because someone is out of sight does not mean they have to be out of mind. Saying goodbye is not forever unless you let it mean that. You will not grow in our industry without expanding your reach but always makes sure to remember the steps and people along the way. The old saying is “don’t forget what got you here” and you could substitute “don’t forget the people who got you there.” My other saying is to my freshman daughter and it’s “don’t forget mom and dad”...


tom o'malley

Tom O'Malley

Tom O’Malley is a founding partner at Clover Architectural Products and is vice president of sales. He has been in the aluminum and glass industry for 23 years. Currently he focuses his time on working with architects, helping to bring their ideas to fruition.