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.