Declare your independence this 4th of July
As you know, Independence Day is a proud holiday in the U.S.A. commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
I hope you have a fabulous 4th of July this year celebrating with friends and family!
But, before July slips away, take the time to begin to plot your very own independence day.
Is your boss taking your talents for granted? Has your professional growth come to a halt? Or, did you feel relieved just to get a 3% raise last year?
If you can relate to any of these questions, it’s time to begin to think about how you can put the ball back in your court. Don’t wait for someone else to recognize your talents.
Why do I say that? Well, there’s a rumor still going around that if you work really, really hard and do your best every day, you will be recognized and appreciated.
Does that sound familiar? My guess is your parents or grandparents shared this tip with you. And, many years ago, maybe this technique killed it. But, today, if you work hard (and only work hard), chances are good that the only thing you’ll get is more work.
A career is more than just working hard. It’s a brand. It’s your competitive knowledge. It’s your network. It’s your resume, and your online presence.
And in many cases, it’s “who you know, not what you know.” I’m sure you’re familiar with that old saying. It explains why the highest paid people aren’t always the smartest or the hardest working.
So, if your technique isn’t working, what can you do about it?
The first step to creating independence for yourself comes in the form of networking. Think of it as making business friends.
So often, when we’re caught up working, we forget to take the time to build new relationships. Many people I meet who struggle with networking the most ask the question, “Why would I get to know this stranger? What’s in it for me?” Possibly nothing right now. But, down the road in the future, you never know what might happen.
When your new friend is looking to hire a new employee in a few years, you may be first on their list. If you get laid off tomorrow, having a strong network can really create a safety net for you. It’s especially helpful when you know people across different industries, and in different roles.
Think of networking like investing. When you invest your retirement fund, you wouldn’t pick just one stock. You select a mixture, and you add in various types of financial products that have different risk levels. You may have some international investments and some domestic. Some stocks, and some bonds. And, you don’t expect to cash it all in today. You know that it takes work and time.
Networking is no different. The more diverse your network, and the more time you put into building it, the more secure you’ll be long term. It creates a sense of independence and choice.
Networking is of course just one element to creating career independence. But, its a foundational building block and a great place to begin.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.