Network When You Have a Job


Local, best-selling author, Harvey Mackay, wrote a powerful book called, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. It was published in 1997, but is still one of my favorite books about networking.

The book’s most important advice is captured in its title. He could have used, “Build Your Network When You Think You Don’t Need One,” but that would not have been as catchy.

I wish I would have read this book when I first started my career, well before I left corporate life to start my own business. My work life was filled with opportunities to build my network. There were people I met at conferences, classmates when working on my MBA, customers, vendors, and hundreds of coworkers, scattered all over the U.S.

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For the most part, these opportunities passed me by. I didn’t act on them because I didn’t see a reason for it. When I left my job and struck out on my own, then the reason became obvious.

Networking benefits when you have a job

How might a stronger network help you right now, when you have a stable job?

  • It could help you hire the right person.
  • It could connect you with the perfect vendor to solve a pressing problem.
  • It could provide you with an external sounding board for some ideas you’d like to implement at work.
  • It could lead to a strategic partnership that might push your company (and your career) into the stratosphere.
  • It could lead to an unsolicited call from a recruiter with a tempting new job opportunity.
  • It could provide you with a broader perspective about how the world outside your company works.
  • It could help you find new friends.
  • It could help you help friends and family members who are in a job transition.

You have much to offer

If you still don’t believe that networking might benefit you now, then change the question to one that I bet Harvey would like, “How might you help people in your network?”

  • You could provide an informational interview.
  • You could connect them to hiring managers within your company.
  • You could help them get a foot in the door so that they can offer their products or services to the right people.
  • You could recommend their work. LinkedIn makes this easy to do.
  • You could promote their services by doing something as simple as sharing their LinkedIn posts or tweets with your social networks.
  • You could forward job openings.
  • You could provide feedback on an idea.

You could do all this and more because it’s helpful. Contrary to what many think about networking, it’s not about what you get, but rather what you give.

Start digging

If you aren’t thirsty and don’t need a drink, count your blessings. I hope the winds of good fortune continue to blow your way.

In the meantime, you have a well to dig. Winds quickly change directions. You never know when they might dry you out. It’s then that you’ll be glad you have a well, full of thirst-quenching water.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.