In a little over six weeks I will be graduating from college. As much as six weeks I know will fly by it still feels far in the future. The reason for this is the uncertainty of my future, as far a job is concerned. For the first time in over 16 years, school will not be the constant known quantity in my life. A little terrifying, a lot exciting. Reading the 99U books about the “real world” of working has been of great interest to me. In these books I have learned real life working lessons that could not be taught in my college courses.
This week I concentrated on Chapter three of Maximize Your Potential. The theme of this chapter was collaboration and building networks. The chapter began with the John Donne quote, “No man is an island”. Working with others is part of life and part of having a career.
The chapter stresses a few main points. One it stresses the importance of asking for help when working on a project. Steffen Landauer suggests finding colleagues who you can ask for help and who will tell you the truth. He also suggests finding someone who will hold you accountable to meet your goals. He says that finding the right person may take some work and he even suggests that you may have to audition people for the position. Mostly he says do not be afraid to ask for help. The worse that can happen is that they will say no. I will continue to repeat that- the worse that can happen is someone will say no. Another point chapter three stresses is that when collaborating on a project it is wise to have some honest and sometimes awkward conversations up front. Michael Bungay Stanier points out that pitfalls when collaborating on projects is inevitable. Discussing work habits and ways to deal with possible future work related differences, will help avoid derailing a project.
Chapter three also stresses the importance of networking and building these networks of people. To me this seems like the hardest thing to do, yet I know one of the most important. It is not simply a matter of meeting people but it is also a matter of keeping up these contacts, so that you can call on them in the future. So many opportunities come about from networking. Sunny Bates suggests that you bring into your network all types of people from all different areas of life. Reach out to people who you admire. Bates suggests that people are flattered by this, she writes, “professional love letters work.” (154) She also writes, “You want to focus on pulling in people who you believe will have your interests in mind for the long haul and also people across a wide enough range-so that you won’t have to go back to the well over and over again with just a few people.” (156) The important thing to keep in mind when networking is, that nothing will happen if you don’t try and you don’t ask. And again, the worse that can happen is someone will say no. Finding a job will almost always rely on networking. Being generous to others when you are on the other side is also something to keep in mind. What goes around, comes around.
I am focusing again on “no man is an island”. As a student for the past 16 years, I have learned a lot about my work habits. My learning style has made it easier for me to work at my own pace and in my own time. A habit that will be hard to change but I know I can and will. Also, perhaps from my learning style, I have been very fortunate to come across so many people who have been more than happy to help me. It is because of these people in my life that I am not afraid to ask for help, something I hope will be beneficial to me as I start my career.
Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.