Today, I am grateful for my networking partners.
In most cases, these are other unemployed, or underemployed, professionals caught in the same situation I am in. In my case, my consulting isn’t bringing in enough to allow me to live the way I need to live. I love what I do, and I want to keep doing it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people who want to do what I do, too. I recognize it takes time to build an independent business, and I’m willing to invest the time and effort required. In the meantime, I am continuing my job search for full-time work that will support me.
And I have recently become involved in a couple of networking groups that have helped me in different ways. One is a general job seekers group, the other is for executive level professionals.
The first has provided me the opportunity to offer my services pro bono to those in my situation - a way to pay it forward, since so many have been willing to help me without charge. This has led to a great deal of praise, which in turn has provided leads for individual coaching clients. My work with them has had some positive outcomes (so far, 80% of them have said working with me has had a measurable impact on their interviews), and it tells me I’m in the right place at the right time, setting aside the income factor.
The second group - the executives - have helped me feel better about my employment situation, albeit indirectly. I often hear people say, “You’re not alone! You must feel better to know you’re among millions who are looking for work.” In fact, it’s a discouraging thought when you realize those millions are going for the same few open positions you’re pursuing, and many of them have the same or better qualifications. The idea that I’m one of millions is not as reassuring as one might think.
On the other hand, with this group, I have met people with more experience, more tenure, more knowledge, even more talent, than I have, and they still have the same troubles I’m having. It isn’t “millions.” It’s 15 or 20 people who face the same struggles, the same frustrations, the same challenges, and we talk about ways of helping each other. While the distinctions may seem insignificant as described here, the difference in the way this group makes me feel is enormous.
There is a third group, too, for which I’m grateful; it’s a small business network with whom I’ve become involved (and only a couple of us are un-/underemployed). I have received a couple leads for consulting business from them. Other groups with whom I’ve been active for two years or more have not provided the quality of leads I have received from this one, and it requires about a quarter of the time. I don’t fault the others; I just appreciate the benefits I’ve received from this one.
So while my attitude may struggle sometimes, I think about how lucky I am to have met these networking companions. They help to give me a sense that I really am not alone, and that I’m on the right track.