Lasting Relationships Are Key

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”  – Oprah Winfrey.  The most difficult concept for individuals to understand when in transition is that not everyone who was by your side during your rise to prominence or success will be with you when you inevitably will get stuck in the mud.

The older one gets, the realization of the fact is that you will have occasional relationships – meaning you will have individuals who will be there for you at particular times of your life but unfortunately seem to drift away when you might need them the most.  The most difficult happenstance to comprehend is the fact that in your hour of need (and a job search is certainly defined in that category as such), the individuals who you either assisted over the years or who have been aligned with you during good times seem to disappear at the most unfortunate of times.

In discussion with an associate who retired a few years ago, he mentioned that it is amazing how many people have fallen by the wayside now that he no longer can be of assistance and that he now knows who his true friends are.  We all would hate to admit it but some of our relationships are only those that occur because of our station in life and once that changes – the relationship changes as well.

An old Turkish proverb says it all: “No road is long with good company.”  It is vital for all of us to build relationships that will survive changes in our lives and create an understanding that a relationship is a two way street that needs constant development and understanding.  A relationship built on solid ground and not one that was formulated because of what you can do for them will survive and flourish.

As an Association Exec it is heartwarming to see what was initially transactional relationships (buyer and vendor) continue through the years despite the fact that I may not be in a situation where my purchasing power or influence is of previous prominence.  These are the people that are at your side during times of need as well as at times of success.  These are the people who you can truly define as friends.

A job search needs to feed off of your network of relationships – constantly, relationships that you have built over your long and successful career.  Tommy Spaulding in his New York Times bestseller, It’s Not Just Who You Know remarks that he was not able to achieve his full potential in life until he began to reach out for the support, insight and influence of others.  That none of us achieve success alone and that we all need the help of others.

Among the insights from Spaulding’s book, which by the way is a must read for anyone in a job search:

*  It’s not just who you know, or what they can do for you, but what you can do for them.

*  Motives matter.

*  Establishing a deeper connection is about authenticity, not manipulation; reciprocity, not selfishness.

*  Every relationship is a two-way street; we never know when a chance encounter can change the   direction of our lives.

The success of any job search is due to the many people who have been there to point you in the right direction, motivate you when you need it the most, provide insights that only they could provide, give you a lead to pursue or just be there when needed the most.  These are the people who you would go to war with and these are the people who will be there through thick and thin.

Life is too short to contemplate why people drop in and out of your life but during your job search it is vital to maintain and develop those relationships that can help you through these “interesting times.”  A give and take relationship is one that will last forever and that is exactly what we all are looking for; isn’t it?

Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career.  He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives since 1986.  He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 100 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transition.  He can be contacted at:

Copyright:  MMXI.  Reprint of this article is permitted if the above paragraph is included.


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