Don’t misunderstand the title of this blog. It’s not about sexual preference. It’s about networking. Every morning, when I take my walk, I observe groups of teenagers waiting at street corners for their school buses. Two things are common to these groups. The kids are not talking to each other, and the majority of them have their ears plugged with MP3 players. They choose to live in total isolation despite the fact that these are the same kids who mingle with each other every day.
Now, why is this? Because in the American culture—in contrast with other cultures—one is not to approach another person until the two have been introduced to each other by a third party. This cultural habit is practiced by adults, and therefore their kids perpetuate it. In many cases, even after being introduced to someone, the kids lack the confidence or skills to communicate, connect, and possibly be of mutual benefit. Plainly put, to network with each other.
For people in transition, such behavior amounts to a tactical hindrance to their advancement toward getting a job. It’s commonly known that 60 to 80 percent of job seekers get their next jobs via networking. However, if lack of communication is practiced from childhood and if communication skills never get developed or encouraged to improve on later on in life—especially in times of need such as being in transition and letting the world know about your availability—that’s of course a major obstacle.
More and more people nowadays are letting me know they have landed. This is a very encouraging sign, indicating that companies have started hiring again. I always ask what led to the job offer, and invariably, the answer proves two things: first, that the lead came through networking, and second, that the person had prepared extensively for the interview. After all, winning in a tough competition takes not only skills but lots of practice. Have you ever thought how many hours an Olympian practices before the competition?
by Alex Freund