Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Experiment 10: Reaching to the past network

I'm pleased to be getting Christmas cards and New Year's greetings from old friends at this time of year.  My brother reminded me that this time fo year can be a great excuse to help with the networking.  Rather then leading off "Hey, sorry we never got together for that coffee..." Just jump in with "happy new year!  When would you like to get that coffee?"  He suggested brushing past the awkwardness, in most cases, it's not like I was hounded by emails for years that I ignored.  We both dropped the ball, I'm graciously picking it up for both of us, right?

So the experiment has to do with reaching back into the past.  How far back can I reach and still have success?  One of the professors I was better at keeping in touch with over the years suggested I come back to my undergraduate campus and see who might have contacts in Seattle.  It's only a couple hours to Western, so Seattle is where more alumni go to get jobs.  Surely someone knows someone, right?  And of course, the other awkwardness to fend off... my final research adviser/academic mentor left the university for a better offer.  At the time, I was given to believe that not all bridges remained un-singed, and I felt deeply tied to her.  Well, some years later that seems way less important, and I am wondering how I can revive those relationships.  I am trying to think about Ferrazzi's advice to have something to offer.  I might see if they need a departmental seminar speaker sometime.

Well, the first part of the experiment is who can I get to remember me?  The guy I took my senior seminar with?  My first research adviser (who gently encouraged me out of field work)? My letter writers?  These people all loom large in my memory, but this stuff all falls into the realm of their professional obligation.  Will they remember me?  Even though I got married and changed my name?  First email back was a yes, and I figure if I can get a couple, it will be worth making a day of it.  And if I am not back to back busy all day, I won't pass up the opportunity to sip coffee on campus again.

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