Pray for Whirled Peas

I have a friend who has a t-shirt that intrigues me.  The shirt has a graphic of a round green and blue swirled ball that vaguely resembled the view of Earth from space.  The caption is “Pray for Whirled Peas.” It is great! She also has one that simply says (in large letters) HUMANKIND (and in smaller letters) BE BOTH.

These two shirts have, rather obliquely, spawned this post.  I’ve worked with a lot of job seekers and the key to finding a job remains networking.  For many, if not most people, networking is difficult.  You have to put yourself in some uncomfortable positions to tell your story over and over.  You have to make yourself vulnerable and ask for help (now I’m starting to sound like Dr.  Phil).  Bottom line – it’s not fun, but it has to be done.

But what makes networking even harder is when you run up against someone who refuses to help.  Someone who doesn’t want to hear your story – or even worse, who makes you go through your whole spiel an then says “Sorry, I don’t know anyone who is hiring.” HUMANKIND people! BE BOTH.

If someone asks you to help them with their network, say yes.  Listen closely to their story and be empathetic to their position.  Always refer them to someone and in those rare instances where they’ve already talked to everyone you know ask to see their Target list.  Encourage and support them in any way that you can.  Make sure they always get something from you: a name, an organization, a job search tip, something.  Do what you can so that when they walk away 15 minutes later they feel better about their job search.

I can hear some of you thinking … “Why?!? The job market is crappy and sometimes these people just need a dose of reality.  They need to wake up and smell the coffee.  This is no land of fairies and rainbows.  There are no jobs like they want, they need to step off their high horse and just get back to work doing anything.”

And my answer to you is “Put a sock in it buddy.” You do not know everything.  You cannot predict the future.  Your job in the networking process is to be helpful and supportive.  Reality will take care of itself.  There are two reasons that you need to behave like this.  One – it’s the right thing to do.  Two – you just might find yourself in this situation in the future and you’ll need friends.  You’ll want to go to the people that came to you and you’ll want them to be helpful and supportive.  It’s a small world and what goes around comes around.

Now, your take way from today is when someone asks you for networking help – give it to them.  And in your spare time, pray for whirled peas.

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