Relationships do matter. Everyone talks about the importance of networking; how relationships with people help you get jobs, get a foot in the door, and be seen by the right people. By all means connections matter. Nevertheless, there is one aspect of career building we often overlook. As we concentrate on making as many connections as possible and having as much exposure on LinkedIn and at networking events, the relationships routinely become fleeting and utilitarian. But, is this is the opposite of what you career coach wanted to tell you? Relationships can get you job. After all, how many times have you heard the phrase: “It is all about who you know”. But the fact is – jobs get you relationships.
I am writing this from a hundred year old villa in Tuscany. I am here with my husband and family to attend a wedding. I met my husband at work. Was our relationship the product of getting the right job in the right time? Maybe. But wait, how did I get there?
It all started in 2010 when I was just coming back to Canada after having worked in an event agency in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was seeking a job in the event management industry in Vancouver – but so were dozens of other people, as the 2010 Winter Olympics had just wrapped up. I met Sharon Bonner at a Christmas event I volunteered to help with. Sharon and I got along right away and soon enough, when she needed help in the office, I came by – and stayed for three months as a contractor. You can say that this is a good example of how relationships can help build your next career step. While working for Sharon, I have connected with another contractor, Laura, who soon became my good friend. Years later and hundreds of kilometres away from each other, we still keep each other up to date on our lives.
After three months of working as contractor with Bright Ideas, I got a new job at Electronic Arts. I started as a contractor and got along really well with the recruiting team. They soon hinted at the opportunity for a permanent position. The relationship factor worked again and I now was working as a production coordinator in a big international company. This was a big change and a lot of excitement! I built positive relationships with everyone I worked with – including this loud, funny, and very good-looking project manager named Jacob. Little did I know he was the man I would marry!
Relationships get you jobs, but it is not the rule of thumb. Jobs surely do get you relationships that often last a lifetime. It may be a great friend, a helpful mentor, a reliable reference, a partner or even a husband! We often spend a lot of time concentrating on the importance of networking and relationships for the sake of promotion or a sought-after career change – so much that our perceptions often become skewed, our relationships become one-sided, our connections are evaluated from the cost-benefit perspective far too often. But did we forget that once you get a job or a contract and start truly investing yourself into what you do and into the environment you work in – the real relationships start shaping up?
When we talk about relationships and jobs, we don’t always think about how jobs affect us more than we may expect. The relationships matter – and not only the ones that help you get your next dream job, but also the relationships you end up creating while doing your job. Dreams come true while you are chasing after the other dreams. True relationships are the ones that change not only your career, but also your life.
Olga Barrows is an event manager by background with a passion for working with non-profits. She also writes part-time for bilingual cultural magazines and for her own blog. Olga was born in Russia and has lived in Argentina and Canada. Right now she and her husband Jacob can be found in Toronto, enjoying life in this big fun city. They try to travel whenever they have a chance and always make sure to enjoy life. She runs her own non-profit website – an urban social project called The People Story. Check it out at www.thepeoplestory.org
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