Monday, 5 May 2014

Don't burn Your Bridges - The Importance of Networking

photo credit: via photopin cc 

It never ceases to amaze me how short sighted people can be. No matter what your plans are, you should never burn your bridges. Every person you meet, in every walk of life, should be considered a potential networking opportunity.

A friend of mine learned the importance of this on a simple trip to the gas station. He had developed a friendly relationship with the young teenage clerk that worked the counter. He was a nice kid working a part time job after school a few hours a night. On one occasion while gassing up there was another guy paying for his gas that was treating the young clerk rather rudely. My friend stuck up for the kid, as he would have for anyone.

During their chats my friend had mentioned to the clerk that he was dissatisfied with his current job and was looking for something a little more interesting. It turns out the clerk's father owned his own construction business and was looking for a site super. He had suggested my friend to his dad. Based on their conversations, he felt my friend was just the guy his dad was looking for. Sure enough, he got the job.

The other guy that was rude to the young clerk, never gave a second thought to how his actions might cost him. You don't want to be that guy. View everyone you meet as a potential networking opportunity.

Perhaps even more mystifying are individuals who leave jobs without adequate notice, or on bad terms. Unless you've won the lottery you will need references in your future endeavours. Why would you burn your bridges? Who knows, maybe five years down the line an opportunity will arise at your former company that is right up your ally. If you leave on bad terms this door will be closed to you.

Have you ever given any thought to how you treat people and how it affects your networking opportunities? Do you have an example where your personal kindness has led to an opportunity you never expected? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear about it.