Key to the success of most movies is the suspension of disbelief. There are so many improbable events that make of the fabric of what you are viewing, that without this critical element in full force, in most cases the pleasure you experience wouldn’t be there. (My favorite phrase is “based on a true story.” Oh sure! All right, I’ll play along.)
It may initially come as a surprise to you as a new member that the most valuable part of your membership in The FENG isn’t the job leads, but rather it is the networking opportunities with other members.
Here too, a little suspension of disbelief is in order. (Yes, I know in good times we publish about 500 pages of job leads a month, but WE AREN’T A JOB LISTING SERVICE, we’re a networking group!)
Even today, I remember quite clearly the initial phone call I got from my dear friend Ed Devlin to join that small gathering of friends at the Westport library. (On a good day, there were perhaps a dozen hardy souls in attendance.)
And, I can still remember those calls I used to get from Ken Hall, a member of that initial group who, I guess, took a liking to me. (Hey, what’s not to like?) Ken would call me up between meetings.
Ken: Matt, I have a job lead for you.
Matt: Ken, are you interested in this one?
Ken: Sure, but it is a good fit for you too!
Matt: Gosh, thanks!
Guess what? I would get an interview almost every time. (I guess Ken really did understand my background.)
So, what do you think he was up to? You don’t suppose he wanted to be a friend do you? (That’s probably a good guess on your part.)
Still, I have to tell you that I was a little suspicious in the beginning. Was I going to have to paint his house or put his kids through college? What was the game?
Well, there wasn’t one. He was just trying to get me to understand the spirit of this organization we were creating called The FENG. (Okay, okay, in the beginning we didn’t know we were creating anything.)
And so now you as a new member (that’s anyone who joined after me), you pay a visit to our website and you try our Member Directory Search feature. Nervously you run your first search. Gosh, I can’t believe all those folks worked at my last company. I even know some of them. How am I ever going to be able to write or call all of them? (Everyone should have such problems, don’t you think?)
More importantly, if I call someone in the directory that has a background connection to me, will they really call me back? And, if they do call me back, will they actually try to help? I hope they don’t bite my head off. (Actually, I have been keeping statistics, and this has never happened.)
So, step one is to suspend your disbelief in the networking process. We have harnessed a force that has taken on a life of its own. (Who would believe that “bean counters” like us would be capable of this?)
Assume that those who don’t call you back have not really gotten into the spirit of what we are trying to do for each other. Move to the next name.
Trust me, in short order you will find many takers for your gift of friendship. And, as I have experienced, some of those friendships will warm your heart for the rest of your life.