Carolyn is a lot like you. Sometimes she’s not sure that she’s doing the right thing.
See, after many years with the same employer, there was a “reorganization” and Carolyn lost her job. And as a woman in her mid-50s, she was worried about her job prospects.
You might go so far as to say she was slightly panicked.
OK, more than slightly.
When you haven’t done a job search in some time, the whole deal can feel overwhelming. Do you work with a recruiter? What do recruiters do, anyway?
What happened to classified ads? How do you sort through all the websites?
Do you still even apply for jobs?
She was spinning, spinning, spinning and getting more and more panicked.
Fortunately, though, Carolyn found me. 🙂
And in our work together, she identified a company she’d long admired where she’d love to work.
Since you all know I’m all about The Connector Strategy – activating your network to help you – Carolyn got busy identifying people she knew at the Ideal Company. By going to her network with a strong ask, she actually landed a phone call with an executive there!
“Yay,” you listlessly mutter. “That’s what’s supposed to happen.” Sheesh.
But there’s more.
The day before that phone call, Carolyn went to a charity lunch and sat at one of those big round tables charity lunch organizers around the planet have agreed to use. Big tables of eight or ten with drooping tablecloths and not enough bread baskets.
You’ve got the vision in your mind, I know you have.
There our heroine Carolyn sits. Tomorrow’s the big call with the networked friend-of-a-friend! She’s running over her key points in her mind, turning them over and over…
And two people sit down at the same table.
Carolyn introduces herself.
Small talk ensues.
And guess what?
Guess where these two people work?
Guess what department one of the heads?
Yes! Carolyn finds herself sitting next to the Senior Vice President Of Exactly What Carolyn Wants To Do from the Ideal Company Carolyn would love to work for!
Can you imagine?
And the rest of the charity lunch went well and I assume there were air kisses upon departure and Carolyn was over the moon.
Three great, strong connections within Ideal Company!
Now, the doubt started. Now, Carolyn began to worry if she’d done the right thing.
Should she have had the phone call with Friend-of-Friend first? Should she not have mentioned Friend-of-Friend to the Senior Vice President? Or was that good?
How do you follow-up in the right way? Was she being too forward? Oh, gawd, what if she’d already blown it?
Fortunately, Carolyn has me.
And I write this now for all of you who begin to orbit the building in worry and anxiety when you’re not sure of the right thing to do. Here’s my advice: “Worrying is a waste of time. All you need to do is to get honest.”
If you want to say to the Senior Vice President, “It was so great to meet you. I’d love to work on your team!” – then say it.
There may not be a job there now, but leaders appreciate honest enthusiasm – especially when it’s expressed about the work the leaders do – and when an opening does come up, guess who’ll be at the top of the list?
Your old views of what’s proper may look like this: One must be reserved. One must follow protocol. One must wait to be asked.
Well, those old views – are they helping you get what you want?
If you find yourself in a happy coincidence (which some might say was No Coincidence at All) where what you want seems to show up like magic, and you ask: “What do I say now? What’s the right thing to do?”
I suggest you say, in whatever words you want to use, the equivalent of: “This is great! I’d like some more of this, please.”
Did Carolyn land a job at the Ideal Company, working in the Department Of Exactly What She Wants To Do for the Senior Vice President she met at lunch?
Don’t know yet. But what we do know is that when Carolyn stopped worrying and started getting specific about what she wanted – stuff started happening.
Which is the only thing you and I need to remember.