Having a friend or relative who becomes obese dramatically increases your chances of gaining weight – according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine that studied the tendency of “social contagion.”

This sounds like bad news, but what it really points to is the deep significance of our social networks. Who we hang out with – virtually or in person! – has a tremendous impact on what we think, how we feel, and how we behave.

When you’re in career transition, then, it’s extra important to spend time with people who are positive, helpful, and genuinely want what’s best for you. Avoid “toxic” people who spread gloom and put obstacles in your way. Let your network lift you up rather than drag you down.

You can always tell them – “Sorry, doctor’s orders.” Because there’s no doubt that negativity and pessimism will harm your career health.

Career Management, Networking July 26th, 2007