I talk a lot about networking, and how much it has done for my career. I thought I would post a recent sucesss story of my own, and encourage others to do the same. The payoff is not usually this blatant, but it sure is nice when it happens.
Recently, I was nominating a colleague for an award. In the course of collecting info about the nominee without them knowing, I contacted their boss. I knew him slightly, having edited a couple of grant proposals for the department a couple years ago. After I got the info I needed for the nomination, he mentioned that he had another grant proposal due next week, and maybe it would be a good idea for me to take a look at that one also. What started out as me doing something nice for a colleague for an award ended up with me getting a nice little contract. And now if my colleague wins the award, the story will have a perfect ending!
What's your networking success story?
I'm always seeking to increase my network and you never know when the next big lead will come....
I was active in my local section YCC and was excited to be appointed to the national YCC in 2011. As I was preparing to attend the Spring Meeting in Anaheim, I learned that everyone in my lab was going to be laid off the day after I returned from the conference. Based upon my first job search at the end of grad school, I knew that my second job was going to result from networking. So at the Anaheim meeting, I was telling everyone about my unfortunately situation and capitalizing on every opportunity to network. While at the meeting in Anaheim, I volunteered to attend the Graduate and Post Doc Reception to tell other younger chemists about YCC. At the reception, I met a lot of great people and just so happened to met a graduate student whose father was the Chemistry Department chair at a university nearby to where I live. As we talked, she let me know that she thought her dad was currently searching for a physical chemist (my field) to replace someone who was retiring. I immediately contacted the department chair who sadly informed me that they had hired someone months ago to fill the position. A few months after I initially contacted him, the department chair sent me an email asking if I was still interested in teaching at the university because he was able to create a full time position for me!
I'm now in my second semester as a Visiting Assistant Professor and looking forward to many more.
Dear Kathryn Leach,
I am Malli. Thanks for sharing your networking success story. I am going to graduate in May 2012 with a Ph. D in Physical Chemistry. I am curious to know about other physical chemists and their research/teaching etc. Let me know if it is possible for me to add you to my professional network (Linkedin).
Another success story:
I recently received a holiday letter from a friend I have probably not spoken to in 8 years. She taught my children piano when they were little, but we've continued to exchage holday letters. In it she mentioned that her husband had started a new company, and being the curious sort I googled his name to find out what he was doing. As I read, I realized he was doing exactly the kind of work that my son was looking to in an internship. I showed it to my son, who did some more reasearch and realized that this guy was doing exactly what he wanted to do. My son called him, they had coffee, and he was offered an internship from the husband of the woman from whom he had taken piano lessons almost a decade ago.
You never know who knows whom - or who they're married to!