I've written quite a few posts lately on networking and a very common question is - where's the results? What do I get out of all the effort, and so far my best (if lame) answer is that networking is an investment based on faith that it will pay off somewhere, somehow. Not a great answer, and definitely doesn't help support my case very well.
So, I've been trying to pay a little more attention to my own network lately, and see if I could identify anything interesting. What follows is a quick summary of things from the past two weeks or so:
- I'm driving to Atlanta for SQLSaturday #13 with Kendal Van Dyke who works with my friend Jon, who I met as a co-worker just over 10 years ago
- Terrence sent me a comment on a recent blog post, and we met because he attends oPASS meetings, and that because he was referred from former co-workers
- In another case a friend referred his spouse because she in turn needed some short term assistance with a consulting engagement of her own
- I met Stuart - the man behind SQLSaturday #13 - at PASS last year, after he heard some discussion about the event concept at a chapter leader meeting held there
- I met Don Gabor and that lead to me taking a short class on networking, and maybe more
- Bonnie attended a class that my partner Brian taught, Bonnie heard about us from Ken Tucker, who I met via Joe Healy & Shawn Weisfeld. In turn Bonnie asked me for suggestions about speakers for her user group, and I recommended Kendal (see above) and Jack Corbett, who I met at SQLSaturday #1
- John Kelly attended a class and it turns out we were working for the same employer too many years ago - though with definitely different opinions about the experience!
- I met Lars Rasmussen, who it turns out knows my friend Tjay Belt, who I also met via PASS. Kudos to Lars for putting into my head that Twitter is often 'stream of consciousness', a useful way to look at it (and Lars is a Twitter-ite, though seemingly not obsessed!)
- I had lunch with an old friend and co-worker after we reconnected on LinkedIn
Looking back further, I landed a job in IT that allowed me to grow from entry level data guy to senior manager due to a referral from a friend (Jon, see above). I met my partners Steve Jones and Brian Knight via our participation in Swynk.com, and that bit of networking has paid a lot of dividends over the years.
A little bit of that has lead to earnings, but all of it has lead to a lot of career satisfaction in one way or another. There's still no guarantee, but maybe I'm inching closer to being able to illustrate the real value of networking.