Monday, January 12, 2009

Network Today or Tomorrow?

man & clock
Originally uploaded by { Fiat Lux }

Unemployment is at 7.2%. Most reports say that as much as 13.5% are unemployed or underemployed.

I'm no market analyst. I don't have a degree in economics. I'm not a television pundit. I've not written any books on networking or business. You won't find my name anywhere on Amazon, CNBC, or at any conference. I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers or know what the future holds any more than the next guy. I have, however, been unemployed once in my life. I also watch the news. I read the news. I listen to the unemployed. I listen to the employed. I am usually aware of the market and what it is doing from day to day.

In April of 2008 I had already been blogging for some time. I had a Twitter account, although I did nothing with it. I networked here and there (both on social media and in person), but nothing too serious. It always seemed like something that was a good idea, but I'll be honest and say that I did little beyond my immediate social circle, I hadn't worked very hard on any sort of network. I had thought about looking at other job prospects, but was content with the one I had.

Then the unexpected happened. I found myself unemployed. I did the one thing I think most everyone else would do or has done in that situation. I networked. Suddenly I was on the phone. I updated my resume. I gave Twitter a second look. I had a little bit more free time, so I blogged more. I started tossing my resume around. I started lining up interviews. All in a mad scramble to make sure I didn't stay unemployed for very long. I was one of the fortunate ones, because my unemployed status didn't last very long.

I learned a great deal from the experience. One of the most important things I learned was how important networking is while you are employed. Don't wait until you are in dire straits to start. Begin building your network today. Work on building good relationships. Keep in touch. Help others out when you can. It doesn't matter if you choose to utilize the social media tools available or not, you should be building professional relationships.

Build them today, not tomorrow. If the current economic numbers tell us anything, it's that things could get worse.

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