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It’s All About Relationships

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 8, 2009 7:22 AM |

I had a conversation last week with a recent college graduate working in the finance industry. He was recently laid off. Understandably, he was somewhat miffed and unsettled. I was happy to talk to him. My first statement to him was that he has approximately another 40 work years in front of him. Given the length of time and the dramatic changes ongoing in our economic landscape, I offered that this was actually an interesting time to be in the job market because change creates opportunity. His initial deadpan response was not unexpected and actually hoped for. I did not want to be merely a shoulder for him to lean on and commiserate. I advised him that his next job would not necessarily find him, he must find it. In that spirit, I enthusiastically apprised him to actively engage people in dialogue and conversations.

I told him to not even look for interviews but first and foremost to gather information. Utilizing a variety of networks (friends, family, college alums, neighbors, cold calls), I strongly impressed upon him that he needed to remain engaged.

Looking for work and defining a career path should not be a random event. However, in these times many people understandably get overwhelmed. What do they do? Their job search becomes a lot of e-mailing, point and click, cover letters, and other impersonal forms of engagement.

Today’s WSJ wrote a great piece, Did You Get My Resume? on this approach. I thought so highly of it that I included it in the Must Reads section of the Career Planning tab here at Sense on Cents. I view online job applications as the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket.

I hope in reading the WSJ piece, you avail yourself of the other Must Reads which also promote the concept of developing relationships and discipline. While the “game” is in the midst of a torrential downpour and subsequent “rain delay,” I am enormously enthused that new businesses and opportunities will arise. Also, who wants to come into a game near its climax?  I’d much rather enter as new ground is being cultivated and nurtured.

I would also offer that while many, if not most, firms are in a downsizing mode, they are or can be in an upgrading mode. Even if they are not necessarily looking to upgrade, I would encourage job seekers to broach that very topic.

I do hope that the Career Planning Workshop and Must Reads prove helpful as people navigate the current economic landscape.

LD

  • Mountainaires

    People often disregard this, but volunteering in local community interests is often a good way to engage and network. Whatever your interests are–outside of making a buck, of course–volunteering keeps one engaged; sometimes, surprisingly, those relationships are invaluable for employment opportunities. It’s true whether your interests are in business and finance, or social services. Particularly for people who are currently out of work, it’s important to maintain and build interests outside of your former job community, if for no other reason than to maintain your mental health; losing a job causes depression, anxiety and excruciating psychological stress–even physical stress. So, having an outlet for expression is a good thing, and it helps to alleviate stress. But, sometimes, while volunteering, you make contacts that lead you to a new employment opportunity.

    Just a thought…

    • Larry Doyle

      Mountainaires…great point!!

    • Always Learning

      I totally agree. Volunteering is a great avenue for those seeking employment at all levels. My daughter, a freshman in college, is having a hard time finding a summer job. Retail stores and restaurants are not hiring; camps have cut back on the number of counselors needed because camper enrollment is down. I suggested that she find an organization and volunteer . . . it can be very rewarding on many levels.

  • thinkaboutthis

    Good subject folks. The dynamics of losing a job, I do believe, is not so easily translated into a volunteer mentality for many reasons. I would think that the majority of folks that have lost a job — transition to getting and not giving-.

    The instincts of survival of the fittest would apply emotionally and therefore aggression and self preservation would ensue rather than benevolence and time without compensation.

    Although volunteering is all the things y’all mentioned above – in a time of joblessness – I do not see a whole bunch of folks increasing the roles when they never did this when they felt secure.

    Indeed the loss of one’s job causes so many dynamics and the biggest one is that most folks have never had the experience in the first place and do not know how to adjust. I could go on and on–however, I do agree—volunteering is a good thing.

  • Think…I do not necessarily disagree that losing one’s job is a highly emotional experience. I think the benefits involved in volunteering while still looking for employment (and hopefully receiving severance or unemployment assistance) is the contacts one can make. Those contacts and relationships can be enormously helpful.

    It is a process and not an easy one at that.

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Hope you enjoy the site!!






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