Recently, I saw the movie “Up in the Air” – for the second time.
It opens with passing aerial views of various American landscapes as corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham (aka George Clooney) flies to another layoff assignment. The next scene shows employees suddenly realizing that their “job is no longer available.” Oh, my gosh! Too real!
While the content of the movie is about Ryan and his unencumbered lifestyle, the context of the film is the world job loss, layoffs and 15+ million unemployed and in the midst of their own career transition. It reveals the shock and emotional hit of being unemployed, “up in the air” and alone.
No! Wait! Stop! It does not have to be that way!
Hope and New Employment in Career Groups
Last Monday at 7:30 am, I went to North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA and saw 200+ people meeting and greeting one another at a career group event. The volunteer leader, Peter Bourke, invited people to sit at one of 30 round tables.
“Most jobs that get filled are not posted publically,” Peter began. “Most are filled through networking. Networking, however, is really hard without relationships. That is why we are here today. Here you can meet people, make friends, start relationships and help one another.”
3 Rules to Get Started
Peter continued, “Now, here are three rules I think you will find helpful:
- The 3-foot Rule: If you get within 3 feet of anyone, you are obligated to share your career transition with them.
- The Help-Others-First Rule: You probably came in today wondering who can help you find leads. I want you to leave and come back in with a new mind-set: ‘Who can I help?’
- The Have-a-Weekly Plan Rule: Be prepared to share the job and the employers you seek, including a list of top-5 organizations within which you want to network. Know the help you need – whether it is contacts, intelligence about an employer or encouragement to keep going.”
We quickly moved on to a facilitated conversation around the table. Each person had 10 minutes to describe the opportunity desired and help needed. Others offered suggestions, shared phone numbers and email addresses. Today I sent an introductory email to an HR director looking for a contact in a specific company, and a friend of mine who is a VP in that company. That is the power of career groups, contacts, relationships and personal referrals!
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Back to the movie! “Up in the Air” ended with video clips of people who were unemployed talking about their career transition and the power of relationships.
The moral to the story? Career transition is NOT a journey to be made alone. Take the trip with others. Consider it a team effort in which we help one another with contacts, counsel, encouragement and accountability.
Find career groups near you. Be prepared, reach out and help others through their crossroads.