Depending on the circumstances under which the employee left the company, it is usually fine to keep in touch with them, although it may be a good idea for you to let them initiate contact. In such a small industry like PR, it is more than likely that you will cross paths with each other again.
If you develop a relationship with the former employee, you will need to take care not to divulge any inappropriate information about what is going on at the company; particularly if the person has left the company involuntarily or moved on to another agency. You want to make sure you are not breaching client or company confidentiality; otherwise you may risk your own job.
You may very well find that this person becomes a mentor to you, becomes a good networking connection, and a future reference when and if you decide to move on.
Sheridan Falco is director of HR at FutureBrand.
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