How to have a professional network

Here is a strategy for how to have a professional network:

Step One: Get a job at a big company
Step Two: Work there for a long time
Step Three: Note when people start to leave the company
Step Four: Leave the company

Congratulations – you now have a big network across your industry.

When I was at the Massachusetts Conference for Women last year, I went to a “women in technology” break-out.  A young woman asked about how to manage building a network if you are at a big company.  Then she seemed a little panicked about what to do with said built network if you leave your job.  Seasoned industry veteran that I am (ha!) I commented that you will end up with a big network just by staying in a big company because eventually those people go work somewhere else, and so will you.

Granted, you have to work your network – stay in touch with people, engage in conversation, solicit advice – but if you have one at a big company, you’ll eventually have one in your industry.

Yesterday I attended the VTUG Summer Slam in Maine. It’s a great annual event for virtualization users in New England, and this year was no exception.

I couldn’t believe how many people I knew there on the vendor side.  It was exactly my point on networking: former colleagues of mine were at XIO, Pure Storage, Citrix, Datacore, CommVault, and Veeam.  These were all people I could call up and have lunch with, not just acquaintances.

I had a great time catching up with everyone, hearing how they were doing, and learning about their technologies.  Already looking forward to VMworld.

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