Years ago I heard a platitude: your network is your net worth. At the time, secure in my employment, I found this trite. Yet, it stuck with me.
Now, as I ponder my future after clearing my desk, those words ring in my ears. Like many professionals I have been complacent about building a vibrant network during my career. Too busy trying to solve business problems. Taking too little time to tend to my own future. We skate on thin ice in modern life. Given the credit crunch, you would have thought I’d learned a lesson on the fragility of employment.
Yet over the past few weeks I have been astonished at the kindness and generosity of those that I had taken for granted, or just plain neglected. Their kindness in taking time to speak with me and offering encouragement. Their generosity in offering hard earned pearls of wisdom. When it happened to them, who to talk to and, most importantly, what not to say.
Of course, when the job thief creeps in and makes off with your livelihood, most people go straight to a headhunter. They scour LinkedIn and the job boards. Most stop there and wait. Apply. Wait.
The trick, as I have been finding out to my delight, is that my network, no matter how neglected, is opening up more possibilities and potential than I had ever thought possible. It is also delightful to catch up with old colleagues and talk shop.
So, cast your net wide. If you are looking for the next big thing, the chances are your network is your net worth.