What Hurricane Irene can teach us about finding a job

Living without electricity for a week, due to Hurricane Irene, proved to be more stressful and exhausting than I would have thought. Being the eternal optimist, I neglected to prepare for the storm with the sense of fear and intensity that I observed in my community. I didn’t really think it would be that bad. But just to be safe, I sent my husband to the local hardware store to purchase a flashlight or two and maybe some batteries. I went to the food store, where the shelves were already practically bare, and bought some water (they only had the smallest bottles left) and some cheese, crackers, and then wine. I thought a little storm party with the neighbors might be fun.

My husband waited in line for 45 minutes and was able to purchase two miniature LED flashlights that we could charge in the cigarette lighter in the car. I realized we were low on matches and went to find some at our local drug store.

So, there! We were ready. Or so we thought. Day after day the lights didn’t come on, the water stopped coming out of the spigots, the food in the fridge went bad, the pets sensed the stress, and we started to get depressed.

It was an interesting time, as the people in our community came together and rallied to help one another. One by one as my friends got power we congratulated them with envy. They all opened their doors, showers, and toilets to us.

It got me thinking about how important community is in all aspects of our lives, even finding a job. Whether you are a college graduate just out of school, or an empty nester, or the company you have been with for 25 years downsizes and you’re considering a career change, when you are looking for a job your community is one of your best assets.

Networking is a fantastic way to get people who know you, and like you, to work for you. My very own daughter who now has a successful career in a high end kitchen design company got the lead for this job through my son, who was 17 at the time, whose boss from his afterschool job knew someone who knew someone in the design field.

There is no stigma to networking. It may feel to you like you’re imposing but take it from me, and anybody else in the business world, working your connections is how things get done.

When the chips were down and the lights were out, we all came together to help one another. Needing a job isn’t necessarily a crisis but it is critically important. You can count on your friends and family, and their friends and acquaintances, to help. And when you’re in a position to network back, you‘ll understand why networking isn’t an imposition, it is part of belonging a community.




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