I have had several phone calls over the past few weeks from members seeking advice about what to do about their job search.
It is a good question and one not easily answered even if I know you very well. In the course of a conversation (speech is the slowest form of communication), I don’t know how much valuable advice I can transmit. Still, I am always delighted to hear from our members and it gives me an opportunity to better understand the “skills voids” I need to work on in our evening editorial.
There is a long joke I have told before about this guy who wants to win the lottery. Every day he prays to the big guy above to let him win the lottery and when the numbers are announced each evening, alas, he again doesn’t win. After several weeks of this, one evening he finds that he is getting more than a little strident in his prayers. Suddenly a booming voice blasts out at him in frustration: Could you help me out and buy a ticket?
Under the intense grilling of yours truly and from stories I have heard from Marty Latman and Bruce Lynn, many members of our august body have never even tried our Member Directory Search feature or attended one of our chapter or special interest group meetings. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
If you want to win the job lottery, you have to help me out and buy a ticket.
I’m not sure if everyone is aware of the amount of work that goes into maintaining a membership directory of 38,000+ individuals, some of whom have been known to move, find jobs, or lose jobs.
Be that as it may, were this not THE most valuable resource you have as a member, I wouldn’t be beating the drum about it all the time, nor would I be spending all of the hard to get money that you send us in administrative staff time to make it all happen.
In case it has escaped anyone’s notice, we are a networking group, not a job listing service. Yes, I know we publish about 600 pages of job leads a month and members do find jobs from our newsletter, but still, for most of you who want to find work sometime before you are forced into retirement by old age, you need to network, and there is no better place to start.
Make a list of everyone you have ever known and see if they are a member of The FENG by checking the membership database. Take your target company list and identify those fellow members who have recently worked for those firms and “reach out and touch someone.”
Let me turn to meetings. Do you know how much time and energy your Chapter and SIG chairs devote to setting up meetings? Sure, some can be boring I suppose, but if you don’t go, you will never know. Do you have what might be a stupid idea for your career that you would like to try out on your fellow members? Come to a meeting, make it part of your 90-second introduction and see how others respond. It is actually possible you are on to something. But, if you sit at home “talking to yourself,” you will never know.
Our gatherings are meet and greets. We may share a lead or two, but it is not required that you show up with one. The human interaction, the opportunity to try out your latest positioning of your career or your explanation of who you are and what you do is simply not possible in other venues. This is indeed a “golden opportunity.”
Everyone in The FENG wants to be a resource to you. The reason is enlightened self-interest. When they want a resource they know there will always be someone who “owes” a fellow member of The FENG a favor. Or, they know they can reach someone who wants to “make a deposit” into his “the world owes me a favor” bank.
Basically, you can’t lose. Is that a great kind of lottery ticket or what?