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.
While flying to a second interview with a company for which I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about working, I ran into a former colleague also flying to an interview. When I told him my reservations, he said, “let me suggest a different way to look at it – could you do this job for a year?” I replied that yes, I was sure I could. His advice was to get the job, save the severance money and keep looking if I didn’t like the job. Through the interviewing process with this company and the others I talked with I met interesting people. That is when I realized I wouldn’t allow myself to ever get into the position of being so out of touch with my employability.
When I was laid off in 1995, it took me 4 months to get a job I wasn’t particularly interested in. When I was laid off in 2001 and again in 2002, it took me 1 and 2 months respectively to get a job I wanted.