Saturday, January 19, 2013

Networking 101

We all know that building a network is the critical component in finding a job. Those who have the right connections simply don’t need to worry about unemployment. Do you suppose the great grandchildren of John D. Rockefeller or Joseph Kennedy are going to have any trouble finding a job? Do you think NBC News hired Chelsea Clinton because she was the most qualified applicant?

How about those of us who are not the children of our nation’s royal families? I guess if you were not born with a network, you better start building one. Start with the premise that you just don’t know who is important. Learn to treat everyone in your life as a potentially important strand in your network. While obviously those with the authority to hire or promote are important. Some minor functionary in a vast bureaucracy might hold the key to your future.

Don’t look for an opportunity to take from the nodes in your network. Work on adding value to your network. If you are given an opportunity to do a favor for a friend, just do it. Like giving money to charity, sewing good seed will reap a harvest in the proper season.

Establish yourself as a person of excellence. If you perform at a high level over an extended period of time you will establish yourself as a person of excellence. At my place of employment, the janitorial contractor hired a certain legal immigrant to clean our toilets and vacuum our offices. Unlike the others who held this job, this man looked for extra work. Rather than wasting time with his friends when his job assignments were complete, he began to sweep out the long building where we run tests. This building is over ½ a mile in length. I expect that it had never been cleaned like that in over 60 years. Nobody asked him to do it. He just did it. One of our industrial supervisors was so impressed he made it his business to create an entry level position for an unskilled employee that never existed just so he could hire this guy. Now this man, born in another country, has a permanent Government job in a research and development laboratory. He hasn’t stopped learning. He now knows some basic machinist skills. He has learned how to handle a forklift. He has a crane operator’s license. In a few more years, who knows?

“You have not because you ask not,” is a basic Biblical principle. Do not be afraid to ask your network for help when you need it. Even be willing to ask a friend of a friend, someone outside your immediate network, for help when you need it.

Luke 18:

[1] And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
[2] Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
[3] And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
[4] And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
[5] Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
[6] And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

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