Posts Tagged ‘network’

Get a (new) Job.

Problem:

You’ve mastered your current position and are pretty much the expert in that particular job function, but you’d like more challenge.  You want to get to the next level but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of promotion or juicy project ahead.

Solution:

Go find another position within the company and start over.

It’s hard for anyone to leave a place of knowledge, expertise, respect, connections, or safety, and start over, but within a large corporation it’s about the safest thing to do.

When you become an expert, and you change positions within the same corporation, you never completely leave your expertise.  People will still call you for advice or information, you are still somewhat available.  And because of your experience in that area, you will always be welcomed back into the group if other positions don’t work out.

Sure, starting over in a new position, with a new manager and a whole new group of people can be completely unnerving because it is full of unknowns – you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know who to talk to, you’re the new kid on the block and therefore don’t have the respect that you’re used to.  That’s okay.  It puts you in a perfect position to learn, get away with making mistakes, and inject some new thoughts and ideas into the group because you’re not tainted with all the history and baggage of that department.

Starting over is immensely valuable because in the long run, you are building a broader range of experience and a larger, more diverse network of contacts.  All the things you don’t know now, you’ll learn soon enough, and when you do, you’ll be twice as valuable for the company.  Knowing more parts of the bigger system will definitely help you solve the tough problems and give you more people to call on when you need help.

And usually, you’re not starting completely at zero.  You work for the same company, so you know what’s been happening at a macro level, and you’re probably somewhat aware of what your new group does.  You may have even coordinated with them in the past so you understand the other side of the issues, and that will get you more respect in your new group.

Keep your eye on what’s happening in other areas so you know when they might need some help and how your particular expertise and experience can help them.  Never burn bridges, and stay in touch with past co-workers, you never know what kind of opportunities may arise.

Don’t worry if this new group may not be your ‘dream job’.  Learn to make a difference and put your mark on what ever department you work in.  Over time, as you learn new skills and broaden your experience, you’ll be recognized as someone who can get the job done.  Then, you’ll begin to be wanted, and offered many positions, from which you can choose the best one for you.

Now that’s job security.

It takes some risk to increase your value.

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Stay Connected, Over Time

Problem:

You develop really close relationships with the people you work side by side with, then an opportunity comes along, or a reorganization, or for some reason you or they move to a different group and you never see them anymore.

Solution:

If you’ve developed a good friendship, it doesn’t take much effort to stay connected.  It could be months or even years later that you might run into them again and you would pick up right where you left off, it could be just like old times.  It’s always fun to see old friends.

What I’m suggesting is that you make an effort to make that happen, instead of it happening accidentally.

Every few months, or year, or whatever time period makes sense for your level of friendship, send your friends an email, or give them a phone call, or just show up at their desk and say “What’s up? How’s it going?  How’s the family?”  Maybe even take them out to lunch.

Reconnect and reminisce.  It’s so much fun, but it’s also very valuable and develops good grootship.  Not only will you find out about how they’re doing, but you’ll learn what’s happening in the old group, who’s doing what (did that one guy ever retire?), or how the company is working in that area.

This strengthens your connection, so in the future, if you ever need some information or help from that part of the company, you can just call up your friend and say “Do you know about…?”

This is easy, immediate, and free information or access that happens so much faster than filling out some form, or following a process, or calling a bunch of different people to find the right person you need.

Trusted networks are powerful.  It’s how things can get done fast in a large company.  So strengthen your network by staying connected, over long time periods.  You never know when you might need someone’s help, or when you might be able to help someone else.

Besides, it’s fun.

Grow a Powerful Corporate Network (without leaving the office)

Guest post by Jodi Kaplan. Visit her blog at Fix Your Broken Marketing.

When I was back in the corporate world, my job required me to work with people all across the company. I was in marketing, but had to rely on people from graphics, events, product development, membership (for a non-profit), and IT to get my job done.

In one case, I had a brand-new position, so there was no guide to show me the ropes.  Since I couldn’t ask for help, I came up with an “evil” plan. 

Bribery!

I had a two-part plan.  The first part: bribery.  I put a big bowl of candy on my desk.  After a few days, I had lots of new friends.  People would also stop and chat, so I got all the latest news and project updates.

Let’s Do Lunch

Part two of my plan was sitting down for lunch.  I’d go into the company lunchroom and sit close to people outside my department.  Occasionally, they’d ask me a question or I’d chime in.  I gradually built up a friendly relationship,  and we started eating lunch together and having real conversations.

We were technically all isolated in our own different corporate silos – reporting to different people with different lines of command.  In some cases, we really weren’t intended to have anything to do with each other. 

However, when you have lunch with people over weeks and months, regardless of whether you’re talking about food, TV, or company goings-on, you start to bond.  

You also start to learn things you’d have never known about otherwise  – what bothers them, what problems they’re having doing their jobs, how you can make their jobs easier, and how they can help you. 

For instance, I found out that graphics would rather have plain text files instead of heavily formatted Word files.  Or, that it’s easier if you mark where you want headlines or photos to be inserted. 

These cross-departmental connections also came in very handy during reorganizations, since people from other departments  already knew and liked me.  In fact, some of them are still my friends.

So, next time you don’t have plans, ask someone from IT or accounting to lunch.  Or, go sit at a different table.  You might learn something. You might even make a friend.