Our Job Security is Our Network

October 13th, 2010 No Comments

I attended a sad farewell for an association that at one time was truly a great organization. It was vibrant and growing. This group was quite impactful for me throughout my career though particularly in the early stages. Over the years the association had lost membership and struggled to keep going. I myself had not been an active member for years. It was not a huge surprise that the decision was made to discontinue meeting, though still disheartening, especially for those of us who had been involved with the association for a length of time.

As I think back, I realize the impact these regular monthly meetings had on my knowledge and growth. There was always a topical speaker; an opportunity to stay current with trends, explore new thought and long range industry vision. Also, it was a social venue designed to foster lots of connections with others in the same area of expertise. These connections turned out to be not just professional contacts, but real strong friendships over time, friendships I value with people I turn to for advice, empathy, and a hearty laugh.

At the farewell get-together, I re-connected with a few people that I had lost track of. Yes, it happens to us all, even those of us who pride ourselves on being connected. There were a couple of people I really like spending time with, yet don’t manage to get together with outside the meetings and networking events. I mean to and then I allow life to keep pulling me in other directions. It’s the way it is, we have to consciously make the effort. Many times these are people who could be important to our careers. I remember losing contact with a dear friend and many years later running in to her at an event. We were so happy to have found one another and reconnected only to loose touch once again. Crazy. I must look her up on Facebook one day!

We know how important it is to network when we are looking for new employment, though I encourage us all to network continually throughout our careers whether working or not. If we stay connected while we are employed, it is easier to network when we are between jobs. It is so much more comfortable to call someone that we have made a point to talk to regularly than if it has been a length of time (or years) between contacts. Even if it has been years, call anyway, the other person will be happy to hear from you!

One of the most important things we can all do is to be involved in our professional organizations. Make it a habit to attend association meetings with colleagues, meet with friends and be involved, it is good for everyone. Keeping up to date with new information in your field and building your reputation in the industry will serve you well over time. Choose to serve on the board, volunteer to assist with an event or participate in a special project. This is an excellent way to get to know others, become known for your talents, learn new skills, and uncover new opportunities.

We are often so busy when we are working that we choose to neglect networking, though it is equally important if not more important to keep those relationships strong consistently. This is good not just professionally but for our well-being also, having professional friendships is healthy. Having someone to talk to who has an understanding of what it is like to do our job is a good thing.

Most certainly those who maintain their networks are the first to be re-employed, many times opportunities come their way regularly. They are top of mind with others since they are in contact on a regular basis. Go out to lunch with someone at least once a week to maintain your network, or go to coffee, send an email, make a phone call or send a tweet. It’s that simple and it’s that important. Social networking online makes it that much easier, though face to face is hard to beat when it comes to relationships.

So I remind myself and encourage us all to remember that we are each in charge of our own job security, and our job security these days is our network, so stay connected!

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply