Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Asking For It

I want to talk about networking. And yes, this does have a monetary component.

I'm an okay networker. I'm very good at making friends with people I work with - you know, the 'I really like you and want to hang out with you outside of work' kind of friends. And over time, that's become something of a network. These are people I genuinely like, so it's easy.

Leveraging that network is something that I have long tried to avoid though. Mostly because I hate the idea that I might be using someone in a way I would hate to be used. I avoid that like the plague. I'm not good at asking for things like work, consideration for a position, whatever. I'll advocate to to the skies for someone else. But for me? It makes me feel sorta queasy.

Oh, I do it anyway. It's a requirement of being a consultant to let people know how you are the perfect fit to help them with a problem. But it makes me uncomfortable, and feels shallow.

Or it did. Something recently changed. My husband got laid off. For a little while, I hesitated in asking colleagues, clients and others if they would pass on his resume. I didn't want to be considered needy, or make anyone feel uncomfortable. And I didn't want my husband to be judged for needing a job.

My biggest fear stems from the fact that our society is pretty judgy about out of work people, despite the millions of them - and seems to have an idea that perhaps getting laid off is a personal failing. So while I would mention it, I skirted actually 'needing' anything from anybody. Because my husband is freaking awesome, and anyone that judges him like that deserves a hand sandwich or a slice of palm quiche. Okay, that's the Marine in me talking. I wouldn't really.

I think.

The reality is the best way to find a job in this economy is to know someone. And I know a lot of people. And so I've found myself stepping out of my shell and asking if I can send along his resume. If folks know of anything. How great he is. I've been surprised at the response. It's been great.

And I've been surprised at the change in me. I found myself comfortably telling the VP that recently hired me how it was going to make things easier for him, since I knew the people and the culture that we were trying to change in my current role. He agreed wholeheartedly that it was a great fit for just that reason. And now I know what to say for the next thing that comes up in this organization.

It's true, it's simple, and it's a sales pitch - and that last thing doesn't invalidate the truth of it.

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