Sunday, March 8, 2009

Forget Indiana Jones: YOU Clear the Path!

Networking and job interviews can be nerve-wracking. I attended an event recently that was akin to speed-networking. While it may have worked for some, it was most certainly not my cup of java. I need more than a few seconds (five to be exact) to do a brief exchange of names and enterprises. I'm sure the quick handing of business cards back-and-forth can lead to bigger and better things later on but if I'm going to make a connection it needs to be on the first encounter. I did make one valuable contact but it was done by way of a friend's introduction. She looked back and helped me step up.

My daughter is a recent college grad. After getting a degree in education she has decided not to teach. She's felt a bit lost and quite discouraged. Discovering last minute that her alma mater was hosting a career fair, I convinced her to attend. I was eligible to participate as well because I'm also alum. Road trip!

As we entered the conference center we saw young men and women looking like they were about to face a firing squad. They were dressed in grown up attire, carrying brief cases or stacks of resumes; some visibly trembling. My daughter had a few anxious moments but I reminded her we were only there to browse and see what it was like. No agenda. No fear!

I walked up to the woman at the first booth inside the door and began chatting. I asked how she liked the event so far and what positions she was recruiting for. I explained why I was there and introduced her to my daughter, then walked away so they could visit. I continued on ahead and we repeated this exercise a couple more times. I learned so much about those recruiters and did my best to encourage them. Some were almost as nervous as the prospecting students. Some were bored and tired. I joked and chatted and found that many were happy for someone to just visit with. My daughter soon took the same approach and started casually visiting and engaging recruiters in conversation without my introduction.

Kimberly and I had more fun than if we'd been at Disneyland.We laughed and made new friends as we covered that entire room. She was invited to sit down and meet with a lead advisor in the graduate program, which resulted in more inspiration and encouragement.

As we left, overwhelmed and exhausted, we marveled at the number of employers who practically hired her on the spot. Learning that her degree is desirable in many fields and that her experience and personality make her a valuable asset was just the boost she needed.

My daughter glowed all the way home. She admitted it may have been different if I hadn't begun the adventure by going before her; providing a little opening to help her get her bearings and gain confidence.

There are times and occasions when we all need someone to go before us and make the way a little easier. Are you looking back to see who is on the path further behind? Are you offering to give them a hand to move forward? Did someone clear a path for you? Comment here.
Diane Markins


Anonymous said...

I'm currently on a path, but a path that has been a little bit directionless until now. I've been married and in school for the last two years and haven't really had to think about anything else. My moto has been "focus on now". However, I recently found out that I'm eligable to graduate from college sooner than I thought. At first I was hearing the sounds of an angelic choir repeatedly singing "ALLELUIA". Then, I began to realized that this means speeding up the process of figuring out what to do with my life five months sooner. Although I'm not concerned about where I am now, I do feel like I'm coming up to crossroads and need to start thinking about what is next for me. I think the path (as far as I can see now) will be clear whichever way I decided to go. Being married, I need to discuss my options with my husband. Then, what venture am I off to next? What do I want? What's best for us and our future? I know time will tell and God will provide the answers. It just seems a bit overwhelming to look at it from "the rest of my life" perspective.

Diane Markins said...

I'm such a converted believer in life coaching for situations like you're describing. It may only take one session to help you get to the point of pondering the right questions so you'll know the direction to take. I can recommend a few but for this issue I can tell you Allison Johnson would be great. I know she's offering a free one hour session right now too. Contact her at

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much to those who have helped pave the path before me and give me the stepping stones I've needed! God has blessed me with someone who seems to know what I need before I do! Someday soon I will have to pave my own path but and spread my wings further but I'm taking advantage while I still can!