Before I got laid off in 2006 I was kind of a heads-down guy with my work. I didn’t network, didn’t know many people locally, was totally unknown… I went to work, did my job, and came home and did my family. It was a peaceful existence. I had all the stress I needed with my work situation (we had a gargantuan task of turning a company around).
Then, I got laid off.
I soon learned what a grand disservice I had done to myself, my career, and my family by being heads-down. When you are laid off, relatively new to where you live, no one knows you, and you know no one, you are in a bad situation. What’s worse, I was not prepared for this layoff and I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I did the wrong things.
Fast forward twelve years and things are different. I network. I work on my brand. And, I market myself.
Most people I come across do not like the idea of personal marketing. It’s too much like bragging and self-aggrandizing. People can be comfortable talking about their company, and their projects, and their products, but generally we find it weird to talk about ourselves (in a good and appropriate way).
That should change. We should figure this out. I love recommending the book BRAG! (Peggy Klaus) as a way to help us rethink how we talk about ourselves.
But the reality is, we have to do it. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if we’re not perfect at it.
When you connect with my on LinkedIn my admin will accept the invitation and respond back with a two paragraph intro to me. It’s really more of a call to action than an intro… it has suggestions of things to do (like watch my Pluralsight videos and get on JibberJobber).
It is definitely marketing my stuff. It is talking about my stuff. Some people hate it… some people are fine with it, and some people think it’s cool. But I can’t let the haters tell me how to run my career. It’s like people saying “you shouldn’t go to a networking event… it’s like cheating on your boss.” Oh really? I tell you what, you pay for the rest of my life, needs and wants, and then you can tell me how to manage my career. Otherwise, I have to do what I have to do. Even if it is hard or uncomfortable.
And that’s the scary truth: you… we… have to do this. We simply have to.
Don’t put yourself in a position where you are unknown and know no one. Instead, consistently work hard at helping people know who you are and what you have to offer.
It will be scary. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll second-guess yourself and your messaging. But you’ll get better over time. And it will pay off during the multiple career changes you experience throughout your career.