is of course, when you have a job.
And, the best time to "work your network" is when you don't really need your network.
Quick story from today to illustrate the point.
Got a call from Jason Schwartz, one of the more intelligent people I know.
(Full disclosure: Jason has given me the ok to blog about this)
He's moved into a new career (which, truth be told, should have been his first career....sales training and career coaching). He's a natural for it....but he's not necessarily a natural at marketing himself...yet!
I hadn't heard from Jason in about 2.5 years and now, when he's moving into a new career, he's reaching out, looking for advice and leads.
Nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong, however, is to "go silent," "submarine," or "get myopic," in your current job. You can't let your network nurturing strategy (mine now has 2 parts) go on the back burner. Yours doesn't have to be that elaborate, but it needs to be conscious.
Do you want to be known for
- witty status updates on Facebook?
- intelligent links via del.icio.us?
- great blog posts?
- occasional emails just checking in?
It doesn't matter (well, it does, but you get my drift) so long as you stay present (in a relevant and interesting way) to your network.
Then, when the time comes to leverage it, you will
- not be an "out of the blue" call (and with today's social networking sites, etc., there's less of an excuse to be out of the blue)
- be better positioned to tell your story and have your network help you.
Jason is going to succeed.
No doubt, but he's learned a valuable lesson...it's easier to work a network that has been consistently kept warm than, like an engine in winter, rev one up that has been idle and cold for a while.