At the advice of a colleague he reached out to me. We met for coffee to discuss how I could help.
As this very educated, well spoken man sat before me and poured his heart out to me I couldn't help but think of the countless others like him. Those people who had dedicated their lives to their corporate jobs without as so much a passing thought about developing options outside their corporate walls. The more he and I talked the more it became obvious that aside from me and a few neighbors, he knew absolutely no one outside the cubicle jungle with which he had always expected to call home.
You never know when the hammer is going to fall but trust me my friend, for many of us it will. There is absolutely no guarantee that the company you work for today will always be there. Whether it be through layoff, acquisition or a downturn in the economy, corporations of all sizes are having to deliver unfortunate news like this man had just received every single day. And like him, thousands upon thousands of people are walking out into the mean streets of unemployment alone, with no network of caring individuals to lend them a hand or point them towards their next opportunity.
It's a sad reality but if you aren't out actively building your personal and professional network the day may come when you wish you had. I plead with you here and now if you aren't actively cultivating a network of people outside your current company, please start now. People are resilient, resourceful and above all else, helpful in a time of need. But those people won't just magically come out of the woodwork to help if you haven't invested both time and effort in meeting and growing a relationship with them.
Not sure where to start? well let me make a suggestion. I am my own worst promoter so take this with a grain of salt. I've written about this very subject in my book, The Ripple Effect: Maximizing the Power of Relationships for Your Life and Business. There are some real gems in there about what to do to grow your network now so that in the event you face a similar situation to what I described for your own career, you'll be better prepared. You'll hopefully have a network of people who will take action, create Ripples and help you land that next career opportunity.
Here's a link to purchase an autographed copy from my website (or just click on the big blue book on the right): http://www.ripplecentral.com/book.php
Or you can pick it up a copy at Amazon.com (book or Kindle version) as well as now on iBooks for your iPad and iPhone.
If you don't read my book, read something to get inspired, make a plan and begin taking action. It's never too late and there are no excuses.
You may just one day thank me for that bit of advice.
P.S. Have a friend, colleague, son or daughter who may eventually face this situation with their own career? Pick up an extra copy for them and start a Ripple that may just help them one day! Just a thought.