The Three DeadlySins of Networking

or

Bud’s Rules for Networking

This is the first of three related posts about networking. I’ve talked about networking in other posts, but it is so fundamental to the job search that it bears looking at from a number of angles. These three posts look at three enormous mistakes that people typically make when looking for a job, presented in the context of “Bud’s Rules.” Break any one of these rules and you are toast. You are dead meat. You are road kill on the highway of life. Are you getting the idea that they’re important?Believe it!

When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher, who was also the wrestling coach, informed me that the following year I would try out for the wrestling team. Well, I was a good boy, so I obeyed.

I hated it! Fortunately, my wrestling career was short.

Years later I understood why it was so short. I was wrestling to not lose.If you do that, you will lose. Every time. Why? Because the other guy is wrestling to win!

Why is this relevant? Face it.Looking for a job is not on your list of life’s most fun experiences. No one really enjoys the job search. It is my experience that most people look for a job the way I wrestled: to not lose. They do enough to be able to convince themselves that they are being responsible, but never go out of their comfort zone. Do this and you will lose.Every time.

I tell you this story because the three deadly sins all involve looking for a job “to not lose,” i.e., trying to get someone else to do your job search for you.

 Today we’ll examine...

Bud’s Rule # 1: If you cause people to go out of their way, they will not help you.

 It’s Saturday and you are leisurely driving down the road, when you spot a disabled car on the shoulder, and a nonthreatening person standing next to it.

 What’s your first thought? “I should help this person.”

 What’s your next conscious thought?“Boy, I really need to get to the grocery store!”

 What has happened here? Your first inclination was to help. But your immediate reaction to that was, “I don’t know what’s wrong with that car. I don’t know that person. If I stop, how long willI be there? I might have to take that person somewhere! How long will that take? I need to get to the grocery store!” 

Your personal, perceived busyness kept you from going out of your way to help another person.

Well, we’re all too busy! And my busyness takes precedence over your job search every time.

There was a time in our history that people would go out of their way for others. That time has passed. The technologies that were to make our lives easier have made it possible to do a great deal more in a lot less time. We used to wonder what we would do with all the extra time technology would give us. Now we know. We use it to do more work. And when we’re not working, we’re going to work, going home from work, or thinking about work.

We have become so busy that we limit or cut out not only what we find unnecessary, but also what we see around us. It has been said that, in the average day, we are exposed to 3,000 ads.Does this come as a surprise? You bet! We have learned to limit our notice of them, or their access to us. In doing so we limit all access to ourselves. We hunker down and focus on our agendas. So—If you try to get me to go out of my way, I won’t help you. I don’t have time.

Let’s look for a moment at why you were trying to get me to go out of my way.

In all likelihood, you were doing it so you wouldn’t have to go out of your way. You wanted me to do your job search for you. Understand this: No one will take responsibility for your job search. Moreover, you really don’t want them to. In the unlikely event that you do find someone who will take responsibility, they’ll probably screw it up. They don’t know any more about looking for a job than you do!

Stay tuned for Bud’s Rules, Parts 2and 3.

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