Connecting with Othes


In the US we spend a lot of time talking about the unemployment rate. Each month the numbers are released and digested. However, the unemployment rate is only part of the story because of the methodology used to calculate that number. With the changing nature of work, one has to have a habit of network building and maintaining. The personal network is the key to sustainable careers and in the future may well mean that who you know in your network is as important as how you show up.

Networking means you actively connect with others (mostly with those who are ideally in the same industry niche as you) intentionally on a routine basis. As the employment picture for many in the US is changing, there are strong indicators that many are assuming temporary employment to make ends meet. This then allows them to be counted as ‘employed.’ However, they may not feel themselves fully employed and in a robust, sustainable career. A sustainable career is defined as a one where all needs are met; financially and professionally the work is perceived as engaging as well as satisfying. For many, employment is becoming serial or a series of assignments of less than permanent duration. To cobble together that type of a career, networking is essential.

There is a statistic called U-6. The U-6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (like the the more familiar U-3 rate which is the one commonly discussed), but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.” Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week. And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work. The statistic for U-6 in the US is 14.0% for July, 2013.

Back to networking. No matter your status, your walk in life, your chosen profession; we are not here ALONE. The lone ranger syndrome which still has a strong foothold, needs to be eradicated. Joe Sweeney, the author of Networking is a Contact Sport says, “The difference between networking and not working is one letter.” Think about it. Those who know how to build influence network constantly. The future of employment for many means consistently being engaged in networking. In the past the unemployed would rev-up their network to help them land a new position. But after they started working again, attention to networking would erode. The hallmark of those who are consistently employed in the future will be how well they build, nourish and maintain their network.

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