ON THE JOB: It’s all about networking

I just had a flash of insight while watching our office mascots: Homer, Timothy, and Clover.

These three are large African spurred tortoises. They have a very nice walled-in area in which to roam and eat grass.

But, as they are still “captive” in our office compound, they continually seek to find a way out and into the real world.

The other day, while answering an email about the difficulties of networking, I was reminded of how our tortoises attempt to escape.

They are the most persistent creatures in the world. They seek to find a way out, any crack in the wall, any tunnel that can be dug, any board that might seem loose. All day long they plod around their area, testing each piece of the wall, looking for a way out. And they always find one. It isn’t by being tremendously smart, either.

We love these guys, but they don’t have overly large brains. Instead, they care nothing about the disappointment of their days making the rounds. They simply know that if they plod around long enough, they will find a way out. A lot like Steve McQueen and his buddies in the move The Great Escape.

Here’s how that equates to the job seeker:

Networking is a bear. It is one of the toughest, most humiliating experiences of a person’s professional life. Making calls to strangers and hearing the occasional rude response has sent many a scientist back to the resume mailing method of job seeking. I believe we may think too much about this process. By becoming more like a tortoise, thinking less about it and just moving forward all the time, we can ingrain networking into our life as a habit.

When it becomes painless, it works.

Homer has just completed the final phase of his daily tunnel and is about to emerge on the other side. I’ve got to run ...