I was fortunate to speak with two of our more experienced chapter chairs recently who each in their own way in our wide ranging conversations reminded me of the importance of networking as a lifetime activity.
I suppose to a degree, networking doesn’t come naturally to us financial types. We are by our nature “nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel” kinds of people who prefer “real” work to making phone calls and appearing to ask for favors. (What would we need a favor for anyway?)
Over the course of my career, I was always a pretty social person. On a regular basis, I tried to meet the friends I made at my various jobs for lunch, and/or I would take a day at the office when things were slow and go through my phone book and call people up.
There was never any evil intent involved such as looking for a job. Up until the time I was 46, I never had so much a day of unemployment. While I may have been looking from time to time, I was working and earning a good living.
As many of our members know, life in middle age has a way of playing tricks on you. The jobs that came so easily when I was “in my youth” were slow in coming when I was in my late 40’s and early 50’s.
In our grand age of the Internet, networking is easy and all of you should take advantage, or should I say, enjoy the benefit of this great technology. While I would never recommend that you send out anything so crass as mass mail, much of the news about what you have been doing the past 6 months or so should be circulated to those you know and in that message in some personalized manner and you should encourage those you contact to let you know what they are up to. Why? Because it is a good thing to do. Again, no evil intent. Just friends contacting friends and keeping in touch. Who knows, you might even schedule a lunch or two. (I’m sure you get hungry from time to time, and skipping lunch is never a good idea.)
Until the Great Recession, we were publishing more and more job leads in our evening newsletter. The size of The FENG and our reputation are providing all members with a great benefit. While you can engage in a passive job search if that is your preference, a proactive approach works best. Spending time on building your network when you have the luxury of time is just plain smart.
Ask yourself if you have made any effort to find NEW friends from within The FENG in the past 6 months. Have you called any new members? (They’ll talk to anyone!) Have you used our Member Directory Search feature? It is so easy to use, you won’t believe it. Look for old friends you haven’t contacted in a while. Look for people who have worked at companies you have worked for in past lives and give them a call. While you don’t know them, they may know of you. (I’m sure you are a legend in your own mind! Just kidding.) The truth is that the rascals you left behind are still rascals and the people you call will know them. As fellow members of The FENG, you now have two connections.
Networking in The FENG is not just when you are looking for a job. It is the “gift that keeps on giving.”
Take it from the official poster child.