Last night I ventured out to AdClub's social at HL2's offices in Seattle (thanks for the invite, Greg! I'll go again.). It's been quite a few years since I attended a networking/industry function and I had a great time. While I felt a bit out of practice and recognized VERY few faces, I eventually got the hang of networking events again and met a few people--and as it turns out, we had shared interests AND common connections. This helps pave the way for more conversation and more introductions. A key takeaway and note to self)--don't just put your name on your nametag--shake it up and put your name, what you're up to, and what you want to do or what you're interested in. It draws eyes and STARTS THE CONVERSATION.
I hit it off with a person named Jen and we chatted for a good portion of the evening. She was a fount of information and post-event, we connected online and exchanged more information and leads. Today those leads have resulted in two phone calls for potential positions--one contract, one full time. I have a "meet and greet" set with one person and will set up another "meet and greet" with the other early next week.
Plus, as I was leaving I bumped into a friend/colleague from Microsoft which resulted in an extended stay, more conversations, and more connections. I'm still on a high from the evening!
Can I just tell you how thankful I am?! I'm thankful for people willing to help and provide support, provide feedback, reach out, introduce, make a phone, send an email, etc. I'm thankful for those I've known for years who help me and for those, like Jen, who I just met and are willing to make connections.
To those of you out there who DON'T do that...shame on you. Whatever your reason for not helping, get over it and help a colleague out. Take a moment to figure out their background, ask a few questions about what they're looking for, make connections, and pass opportunities their way. Don't just dismiss and ignore their calls and emails. Do you think it's easy for them to call you? Times are tough for everyone and one day you might find yourself in need of them. Positive light will come back to you in spades, so give, even if but a little.
I can't tell you how important it is to shake things up a bit and do something different--I KNOW it's not easy, especially if you don't have a natural ability for chit chat or just simply sucking it up and doing SOMETHING that you'd rather not do. As I sit here in the outplacement services office taking advantage of free wi-fi, free soda and coffee, and a quiet workspace, I'm thinking about how I finally sucked it up and came in here today--three weeks AFTER the layoff. I didn't really want to, but I am actually feeling better that I did. I have familiar surroundings, I don't feel like a loner in a coffee shop somewhere feeling obligated to buy coffee in exchange for wi-fi and freezing in their A/C (probably a means of getting you to buy more coffee in order to warm up), there are other like-minded people here who I can connect with (and help), and I decided to sign up for a career continuation workshop next week.
I figure even if I'm a little bit ahead of the pack in terms of already having a ready-to-rock resume, a 2-minute pitch, and know what I'm looking for, I might just get something out of it that I can share with someone else (you know who you are).
Anyway, long story short...I did something that I haven't done in years and it produced results and I'm thankful for it. Go forth all of you and do it. I'm rootin' for you all the way!
Have a great weekend!