For those of you who have had the honor of dealing with legal matters, you know that the phrase “Time is of the essence” is frequently used in contracts. The idea is that if you want to get the deal done, you better move quickly. (In other words, you will need to get off your duff.)
The world today moves at a furious pace. No longer, for example, can we blame the postal service for not delivering that analysis that was due, or even blame the fact that we missed the Federal Express pickup. Most things today move at the speed of the Internet, and that is a fearsome and frightening standard by which we have to live our lives.
If it wasn’t bad enough that you can’t get away from the phone anymore (and I do wish they would stop building those cell towers everywhere so we always have coverage), since you probably have an iPhone or one of the many other smart phone devices, you can’t even get away from email.
I’m not sure where in the world life moves at a slower pace these days. I’m sure there are some places of refuge. One arena where there isn’t such a place of refuge is anything related to job search.
As a first example, the job leads in our newsletter have a shorter shelf life than a bottle of milk left out on the counter on a hot day. Our “evil plan” in The FENG is to publish the job leads we receive within 24 hours. Still, if you think about it, someone else also had them for a day or so. So, before you even put electronic pen to electronic paper, you are often times 3 days behind the 8 ball. (Yes, I know you thought I would come up with a sailing analogy, but heck, when you are sailing you’re lucky if you are moving at 5 knots.) To get the maximum benefit out of the 40,000+ relationships each of our members has with members of the search community, I wouldn’t leave our newsletter laying around in the sun. Give it a quick scan. Pick off the ones you like after making sure you are a good fit. Then, make haste in getting your response in the “mail.”
Networking is, of course, the key to success for us older types. The job leads are sort of a tune up game if you will. If you are lucky enough to hit it off with one of your network contacts and they actually suggest a few names or really knock your socks off and make a few calls or send some emails on your behalf, how long do you think you should wait before following up? (This is not a trick question.) The “New York minute” is the time frame that comes to my mind.
Friends, it is like pulling teeth to get anyone to help. When you finally get a generous soul to extend his hand in friendship, how long do you think it will be hanging out there for you to shake? Waste no time in grasping it firmly. Put the ball firmly in his/her court at your earliest opportunity. When receiving a valid networking contact from someone, it is not impolite if they ask you to wait until they reach them to “demand” a timeline when you can be in touch.
People lose interest very quickly. I have often been told by someone I have called that they will call me right back. I have been foolish at times to even stay off the phone for as long as 3 minutes. (That is about my limit.) To my surprise, I often don’t hear back from these folks for hours. I guess their sense of time and mine are totally different.
If you are the giver of networking leads, don’t allow yourself to be put in an embarrassing position. Make clear to the person you are awarding a connection to someone known to you the timeframe in which they should be in touch. Streets run both ways. They may be too bashful to ask. Don’t be too bashful to let them know. After all, these are your business connections and you want them to be available to you and to others you might send their way.
As they say, “Time is of the essence.”