Twice in my life I found myself as an adult without a job. The two situations were quite similar and they both happened fairly close together. It’s not something I would wish upon anyone, but as you might imagine I learned a lot about life and about myself during those challenging times.
One of the things wise people encouraged me to do was to meet with people to help me see what possibilities existed out there and to better understand what made me special, valuable, and unique. A handful of people took time to meet with me and it made a big difference.
While the two seasons ended in very different employment situations, they confirmed something I had generally tried to do throughout my career. It’s a different kind of “networking”.
I’ll meet with almost anyone who asks me to connect with them professionally – especially when they are in a time of transition.
While my schedule is as crowded as any of yours, if a new college graduate, a trailing spouse, or a friend of a friend wants to get together to talk about their career or to learn about mine, I’ll work really hard to make time. Partially it is because people did the same for me. At times it’s a way to give back to others in the same way connections have been given to me. And while I try not to do it for selfish reasons, I can honestly say these meetings have provided me some significant personal and business gains through the years as well.
Sometimes you meet a person who is just right for your own company. Other times you find someone who may be a perfect fit for one of your clients. But even if those things don’t happen, it’s rewarding to help other people. If they leave your meeting and take some of the steps and find their own path – in a problem, a career, or with their product, it does feel good knowing you were able to help.
It's a simple way to give back to and acknowledge those who gave to me.