Your “personal” network…

September 17, 2011

For the past week, I have been staying in my childhood hometown in Ohio with my 93-year-old grandma while my parents are on vacation.  My sisters and I are splitting the time up, and she is in good health, so it is a fun time.

I decided to write briefly about how important my “personal” network is, in contrast to the “professional” network I am attempting to build in Chicago.  I was inspired by the care of my sisters, brother, and my close friends who live in Ohio and their support during my never-ending job search.

For example, last night I got together with three of my very best friends here in Ohio, each of whom I have probably been friends with for 30+ years.  We went to our local winery and talked about all kinds of stuff, including the value of libraries, and how my job search was going.  Their confidence in me was so wonderful–they just spoke of how I will certainly find the perfect job and how great I was at what I do, like it was a “given.”  A couple of my colleagues from my previous job in Minnesota, whom I had only known for 3 years, have been the same way: supportive, enthusiastic, and sending me positive thoughts, as well as providing me with possible networking contacts.

After several months of applying for various positions with very little feedback, my “personal” network is helping to sustain me in this economy.  Talk to your close friends and former colleagues about your search, how you are feeling, what you hope to accomplish, and seek their advice, whether or not they are in your profession.  Most people have been through job searches or difficult times, and they are happy to be able to provide support and advise. 

Your personal network is probably AS important to your well-being as your professional network is during times of unemployment–you need your cheerleaders to remind you of the value you bring to your profession as you feel disconnected due to your circumstances. 

As you go through difficult times in your life, do not be too proud to ask for help or support–that’s what your friends and family are for!  Just think of how willing you are to help a friend…they are just as willing.  And segue that support and those good feelings into your next cover letter and job interview.

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