College Friends or Professional Cube Neighbors?

Networking is a serious part of my professional life. It’s how I got most of my internships while I was in college, it’s how I got my current job, and it’s how I know I’ll get my next one. But it’s not always about networking with the more seasoned professionals.

Until recently, I never took into account how important it was to be “networking” with my peers. I was able to pass down one of my college internships to generations of underclassmen below me. There have now been four interns from my peer group to hold that internship. It keeps getting passed along through recommendations from our peers.

Even at my current job, many of our new hires come with recommendations from current employees. As of Monday, I will have graduated college with both of my cube neighbors. I never expected to work at the same company as most of my college peers and now I work so closely with some of the ones I least expected.

This is a complicated concept for me because I’m an overly competitive person. I need to learn that although I may be competing with these YPs, I can also use them to my advantage. Maybe they know a seasoned professional at my dream company, or maybe they’ll be my boss someday.

It seems almost just as important to have a peer network as it does to have a seasoned professional network.

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