These are notes I took. I have left them mostly as is, not correcting grammar or spelling, because I think that partially reflects my mood at the time.
First Meeting, First Lesson:
Huh, turns out that talking to other people about a common situation is helpful. Who would have guessed? You’d think I would. It was a lesson I learned when our children were born, and we were lucky enough to be in a community that had a support program for new parents. Or, when I met with other internal communications experts while at Carlson, or attended conventions later in life. Funny how, even now, I still need to re-learn the same lessons over and over.
So, ya, today I went to a networking event at Lee Hecht Harrison. It was with other people looking for work, or trying to figure out what they wanted to do…just like me. Everyone was nice, and everyone was supportive. It’s clear that some of them want to jump right back into working, and some, like me, aren’t sure what they want to do, or how much they want to work for a big company again.
The most helpful part? Just realizing, like when our kids were born and I knew nothing, that I’m not alone in this journey. Not everyone knows what they want to do. Not everyone knows how they want to spend their time. Not everyone knows as much as you think they do. It was very helpful to hear others talk about struggles similar to my own. It was very helpful to talk a little about myself. It was very helpful to help a guest with his sales pitch.
Speaking of helping out…I told the guest that I’d happily look at his decks if he wants. Partly I did it because I want to see if I can add value that way (maybe I can help people with decks for a living!). Partly I did it because he was nice, and he needed some help. Mostly I did it because of me. I need to help someone, and I need to be challenged. This will give me that opportunity.
John Helped Me Think About the Future, Not Just a Job:
After the networking meeting, I spent time with my coach, John, at LHH. He’s a great guy, very nice and very knowledgeable. We spent about an hour talking about his models and thoughts, and my wants and needs. If this blog evolves the way I think, I’ll be crediting him with some of the organization here for sure.
Talking to John was an interesting exercise, and really reinforced my thoughts about how I want to spend my time the next twenty or thirty years here on earth. It also reinforced ideas about how I want to spend the next few years, which is probably just as important…Finally, I shared my number with one of the other people. He seems to be in a similar boat as me, and has some thoughts on some of the paths I’ve considered. I doubt he’s going to recommend all of them as good ideas…
Looking back, I’d add this on reflection on that day:
These networking meetings have become an important part of this business. And of my social life. I’m glad I went. Taking a chance and going to networking events is sometimes intimidating, and often viewed negatively. My experience, and that of my wife, has been the opposite. Networking is a great way to make new friends, and to gather information about your business, no matter what that business might be.
Let me know your thoughts, by posting in the comments, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.