techISH

May 4, 2007

CH10 Networking Pays Off

Filed under: Creating, MiniNovel, publishing, TVC, Writing — techish @ 1941 UTC

If I had to finger the one most valuable piece of knowledge I have gleaned from my time in this programs, it would be this:

What you know and how well you do your job will keep may keep you in your job, but you can never meet too many people, no matter what they do or what their role in their company is, at least not in this town, because who you know may be the single final groove in the key it takes to open a door.

It’s not a hard, fast, chiseled in stone, golden rule, but a reliable generality to say that in this region, Fairbanks, people in their fields tend to travel in like skilled, like minded, related circles. So you may know Joe Blow, who knows Jane Doe, who knows Suzie Chapstick, who knows Sammy Snowflake who has an opening at his company for a position that you may fill… and if you get out there and meet people and apply yourself – there is a chance Sammy will ask Suzie, who may ask Jane who may ask Joe if they know anyone with this certain skill set who may be right for the job. That’s is exactly what has opened every door I’ve been blessed to walk through since I first enrolled at UAF and joined the ranks of TVD Students.

Always bridge the gaps, never burn a bridge. Shake the hands, help where you can, keep your ears and eyes open, and be sincere.

It wasn’t verbatim, but that’s the gist of the advice that was given me when I left the secure, protective shell of the USAF. And that’s what I’ve done.

For a while there, my first couple years in the program at TVC, I was flourishing, at times I felt like the cat’s meow or at least a tag-along on the cat’s collar and I was loving every minute of it. After my internship at Third Sector Technologies ended, I went back to my independent business. I knew I didn’t want to remain in business for myself but I also knew from my time with Third Sector Tech that web design/development was not a one person job. You really needed to be a part of a team.

One of those first instructors that I admired so much had contacted me to let me know there was a student position as her assistant open, and she really needed the help. As tempting as it was, and as much as I really wanted to help her out especially after all she had done for me, I had to reassess where I was standing at the time. My skills were quite good at the time and definitely far beyond student skill level. I had to be honest with her when I told her I would love to assist her, I really would, but not in a student position.

Without going into the details that I find so tempting to talk about – I want this chapter to mention, even just skim over so many of the opportunities I’ve gotten because of who I knew. And the vast majority of those people I met through TVC in some way or another. Instructors or colleagues of instructors ended up being my word of mouth advertising. Almost every client I had with my independent business was met through classes or from spouses or employers of fellow students. Not to mention that my current job of which I’ve been at now for close to five years, started as that student position I didn’t want, but one I anxiously went after once it became a temp hire position.

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