This article is about the importance of networking. But first, let’s talk about lobsters.
Specifically, about the practice of putting them in cold water so they slowly heat up as the water’s temperature rises. Supposedly, this way they don’t notice they’re being boiled.
Putting aside the animal welfare ethics of this situation, this is how I used to act, and this is how many other folks behave.
Imagine this scenario: you don’t like your job, but it’s not terrible, and the money is good. So you stay. Because if it were fun, they wouldn’t call it “work,” right?
And you’re lackadaisical about networking, because who has time to keep up with all the random people you meet anyway?
But then, the situation turns more and more intolerable. Suddenly, you find yourself at a crossroads where either you’re being asked to leave or you decide you can’t stay.
You, the lobster, are now boiled. SURPRISE!
And even though you had a theoretical understanding that this could happen, you haven’t done anything to prepare for this eventuality.
You haven’t kept up with your network. You haven’t been telling people about your accomplishments as these accomplishments were happening.
Now, in a panic, you’re reaching out from a very uncomfortable place – the place of need.
Granted, for some of us it will always be uncomfortable to reach out when in need. But imagine how much less uncomfortable it would be if your network were warm, and you were to maintain helpful and social contacts with your connections.
In today’s economy, where no one can reasonably expect to retire with a gold watch inscribed with “thank you for 30 years of service,” building and maintaining connections is an essential part of your career.
I’ve learned all this the hard way. Which is why I’m determined to rescue as many others from lobsterdom as I can.