I learned the need to network firsthand through that great teaching methodology; personal experience. I worked for 14 years for the pharmaceutical company BurroughsWellcome Co (it was my first job out of college). I truly was blessed to have my first job be so ideal for me, my interests and my skill set. Throughout the 14 years, I was able to take on different positions, giving me broad work experience while receiving excellent training helping me grow personally and professionally. I expected to work there for a long, long time. But when marketplace forces began to pressure the pharmaceutical industry, merges and acquisitions were no longer rare events in the industry. In 1995, I was shocked to be laid off. While engaging in my job search, I realized that virtually all my industry contacts were all within the company. Those who kept jobs with the new company quickly became busy with their new roles. Suddenly, those of us who were laid off were on the outside.