If you've been following my most recent monthly recaps, you've probably noticed a couple of trends:
First, I never quite seem to accomplish the previous month's wellness goals (I swear, August will be different!)
Second, my food & drink budget has been astronomical the past few months. The reason? Networking.
Once I knew that I would soon be leaving my job, I wanted people to know.
If you fail to inform your contacts that you are unemployed, they can't help you improve your situation.
A recent Fortune article titled The 3 biggest networking mistakes revealed that 42% of senior managers cited “Not asking for help” as the No. 1 networking mistake.
Even after enduring one of the worst economic periods in history, many people are still ashamed about being unemployed. Even worse, they view asking others for help as an inconvenience.
Encouragingly, this article points out that “Not providing help when others need it” was very low on this list of executives' networking mistakes.
I know that I've always gone out of my way to help someone in need when it comes to a sudden job loss, career advice, etc. I've never felt even slightly inconvenienced when an acquaintance has randomly reached out to me. In fact, most of the time, I've found it flattering.
Why wouldn't you reach out to the solid network you've spend years cultivating?
Once I knew I was leaving my job, I beefed up my social schedule. I was having double the amount of mid-day coffee dates, post-work glasses of whiskey, lunches, and dinners. I went to networking events and stayed past the cutoff for the organization's open bar tab. I paid for other people's drinks and treated influencers to lunch. As a result, my food & drink expenses for July topped off at $608.11.
That's right, six hundred eight dollars and eleven cents. More than double my monthly budget, but the value gained is priceless.
I had nearly half a dozen leads on new jobs before I made the announcement that I was leaving on Friday. It's part of the reason that I felt confident enough to leave my job without another one lined up.
While I think it's important to draft a bare bones budget for times of unemployment or leaner earnings, I've realized that it's unrealistic to attempt to live off a $200 food & drink budget this month. This became even more apparent after I hit send on my farewell email and the flood of responses rolled in.
If I want to reconnect with all of these people, which I absolutely do, I'll need to schedule meetings at least 2-3 times per week. And this doesn't account for the normal amount of socializing that I do.
In conclusion, the added expense of keeping your network strong is worth every penny (and then some).
Readers: How much time and money do you typically spend on networking? Has it been worth the added expense?