It sucks out there right now. Layoffs always looming. Shareholders and Tech billionaire bros seem out for blood.

We could rant about it. Or we could adapt.

Companies have made a choice. So we’re now incentivized to make our own choice: to ignore the internal kayfabe of promotions / raises and stay atuned into the job market.

As a long-time consultant, I’ve had to deal with this. Always there are changing management tides to navigate. That client that loved you may tire of your services. Maybe the leadership changes. Maybe the budget dries up. Maybe the team’s work is outsourced. Who knows.

Sadly, it’s just the weather. The weather shifts out of your control, and sometimes you lose out.

What do you do in these cases? How do you insure yourself against these climactic shifts?

Maybe you don’t have F-you money, but you can learn to build an F-you network. When your current job dries up, meh - you have a rolodex of backup jobs to lean on.

Here’s some tips on how to actually network and own your destiny.

  • Just be of service - networking is professionally being generous to other people without an expectation for anything in return. Just help people. Unless they’re a sociopath, what goes around eventually, comes around. People are grateful for help!

  • Meet people working on what you work on - you have peers at other companies that have the same exact problems you do. Just reach out for coffee and to compare notes. It’s unlikely you’ll solve each others problems, but you’ll share common painpoints, commiserate, and gain perspective.

  • Find your people - There are slacks, discords, other communities related to your field. If you join and participate, you can find others working on similar problems to you, and create relationships in your field. Great place to meet people to chat

  • Create content (the best content is NOT by experts) - Worried about blogging/speaking etc? The best blog articles and conference talks come from people learning as they go. They explain things better than experts. Why? Because they actively are feeling the pain and confusion. They can walk people past those painpoints. I believe another 4th grader could teach a fellow 4th grader how to code much much better than I could with my 30 years of experience.

  • Yes-and content by other people - Want to be of service to others? Share others content on social media/elsewhere, give them all the credit, and yes-and it with added insight into the topic

  • Blog/speak etc to meet ONE person - Dont make your goal when blogging or speaking to get a million pageviews. Just do it to have one in-depth conversation with someone else, make one colleague that thinks deeply about this exact problem too, so you can setup time to compare notes.

  • Treat your skills like an investor - when you network, compare notes, etc you’ll begin to see patters where the wind is blowing technologically. Think of the skills you need to SELL (move away from) and those you need to BUY (move towards). Then invest your development accordingly. Doing this will better position you for the next job (and your current job)

  • Play the long game - networking isn’t about going in and trying to close a sale. It’s being of service and seeing how things play out months and years ahead. Laying those seeds so you both can help each other.

  • Be of service internally too! - it goes without saying it’s not about ignoring your colleagues inside the company. How can you be of service to them? Ignore the shell game of promotions for yourself, and just think how you can make them better, give them what they need, protect them, help them build a network? This will pay off eventually too!

If you can get into the practice of doing these things, you can build an F-you network while staying true to your craft. It’s not about schmoozing, BS sales people trying to close a deal. Just be of service to people and you can go far.

Doug Turnbull

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