With much discussion about networking, including the online ‘social’ type, it’s clear that many of us don’t really understand what it is and how to do it. Recruiter/writer Nick Corcodilos, in Ask The Headhunter newsletter, “Too late to network?” (March 18, 2008), sums up what is clearly the issue, to my mind:
“True networking is when you spend time with people who do the work you want to do, talking shop. Good networking involves working with other active professionals, even if it’s on a volunteer project, or to learn something new. Good networking is rubbing elbows and enjoying talk and activities related to the work you want to do.
“Here’s the thing that confuses people and frustrates them: They think we network to get our next job. That’s absolutely wrong. We network to get smarter, to make new friends, to build our value and our credibility in our professional community, to help others, and to enjoy our work outside of the job. Job opportunities arise out of networking; they are not the reason to do it.”
Networking is all about building community, then nurturing it for the benefit of all who are part of it: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….” (John Donne, 1572-1631). Why we have lost this understanding is anyone’s guess: our focus on individual freedom, many options and choices in products, services, and activities in a capitalistic economy.
It would seem that Jesus’ words to us are truly ‘the’ life principle. “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” (The Message, Matthew 7:12). The message is clearly a proactive one, ‘take the initiative,’ but not in a self-centered manner. Rather, put the other person(s) first in your life, and ‘what goes around will come around.’
This ‘ethic of reciprocity,’ the ‘Golden Rule,’ is evidenced through world history:
What if we–you and I–applied this transformational principle to our careers, daily work assignments, and interactions with others in the work search process and our efforts to keep our jobs and stay employable?