Something Like a Social Network
A few years ago, when I was fairly new to this area, I got a job at Starbucks and was absolutely miserable. I wanted to leave but I wasn’t sure where to go, and I had no connections. Overtime I met some people in Albany, and while I was (nervously... awkwardly) hanging out at their home one day I was struck by a particular moment: someone asked me what I did for work and the nervousness began melting away. My NEED to vent my frustrations brought me out of my shell. I expressed how I really felt about my job in a manner that garnered attention, more people started tuning in. As it turned out there was someone there who owned a coffee shop (Stacks, as luck would have it!) I must have made a strong impression that day, because my tale of woe resulted in a job offer! At the time I had never even heard of Stacks, so the skeptic in me thought it was a too good to be true. A couple of weeks later he followed up about an interview, and not long after that I got the job that has changed my life. This experience taught me that opportunities can come from where you least expect them. These instances don’t seem like networking opportunities, but if I've learned anything about networking, it's that you are always representing yourself. If I had been too shy to speak, too rude or vulgar, or if I hadn't been open about my circumstances--even though I had no idea what opportunities were laying in wait--I could have made the wrong impression with a future employer and coworker. And what a shame that could've been. If I hadn't been open, honest, and authentic in that moment, who knows where I would be today! You really never know what doors will open for you so long as you remain open and be ready to connect. Networking occurs more naturally than we realize.