Sometimes The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence

                                     In my previous post I talked about the importance of staying sharp Even if you do all the right things while planning to delay your retirement, things may not work out with your current employer for many reasons.  It could be ageism. There could be HR issues. Your boss may be thinking of the overhead savings when you retire. If you are facing a decision to either stay full-time or retire, you may have to be prepared to talk with other companies. This is why it’s valuable to maintain your professional network.

Throughout our careers, there have been plenty of people who held the ladder for us as we made the climb. And there were plenty of people that we held the ladder for as they were making their mark. Things don’t change as we enter the later years of our careers. Don’t be invisible. We may not be looking for the next promotion or another step up the ladder but we may be looking for help with a career shift. Another serious point is as we age, our network ages. You may find out that a good part of your network has retired or even made the ultimate career shift.

Friend of a Friend

It’s estimated that 75-80% of all jobs are filled through connections, a friend or a friend of a friend.  As it happened to me, opportunities came up from surprising sources. A few months after I walked away and took some time off, a friend of a friend in the industry needed help on a project. He knew my story and asked the friend “would John be available to help us?” The friend called and that started a very nice relationship.

Catching Up Isn’t Networking

The challenge we face as our careers mature, is that our networking tends to become more like catching up with old friends. We go to industry events as we have in the past, but we look for the same comfortable people. It’s a good time, but not effective if you are trying to make connections to help you as you approach Your Extra Innings.

It’s time to get back to your younger networking mode. Be strategic especially when you go to meetings and events. Stay connected to your old friends but make it a goal to meet a new people. Ask your friends who they could introduce you to. Remember that leaving an event with a few business cards is not networking. You need to follow up with the people you met. How can you help them?

Nine Steps To Reconnect With Your Network

Re-establishing your existing connections may prove to be the key to a successful shift to Your Extra Innings. Let it be known to your network what you are looking for or be open to do. The time to start fertilizing your network garden is before you need it.

Follow these steps to reconnect:

  1. Look through the contacts on your phone. Who should you check in with?
  2. Look through your LinkedIn connections. Who could you reach out to?
  3. Remember that true networking is a two-way street. You are not just looking for your benefit but you are looking to see who you could help.
  4. Are there any Facebook or LinkedIn groups you could join and participate in?
  5. How does your LinkedIn profile need to be updated? Are there any special projects you’ve been involved with? What new skills could you promote on your LinkedIn profile? Also, don’t be passive on LinkedIn. Post articles you find interesting and comment on articles posted by others.
  6. Maintain a list of people you want to reach out to. Make it a goal to reach out to one person a day. A simple hello is all you need like “I saw your name in my contacts and I thought I’d call to check up on you”.
  7. Reach out to any recruiters you’ve dealt with in the past. You never know!
  8. If you have participated in industry groups, don’t give up on them. Stay involved.
  9. Don’t ignore the younger generations. Challenge yourself to interact with them. They could be the decision makers you need to connect with.

A couple of my favorite books on networking are Never Eat Lunch Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and The Start-Up Of You by Reid Hoffman . Both offer solid tips on building and maintaining your network. As Reid Hoffman says “Who you know is what you know”.

To repeat, you may not ask for help right now, but you need to continue to build and maintain your network so when the need comes up, it’s easy to ask for help.

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In my next post I’ll explore the “Proper Care and Maintenance of Us Seasoned Professionals”. Leave me your email address and you’ll receive it in your in box as soon as it’s posted.