Networking the Right Way
Spend less time talking to close friends and more time with acquaintances.
Via Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference:
In his classic 1974 study Getting a Job, Granovetter looked at several hundred professional and technical workers from the Boston suburb of Newton, interviewing them in some detail on their employment history. He found that 56 percent of those he talked to found their job through a personal connection. Another 18.8 percent used formal means — advertisements, headhunters — and roughly 20 percent applied directly. This much is not surprising; the best way to get in the door is through a personal contact. But curiously, Granovetter found that of those personal connections, the majority were “weak ties.” Of those who used a contact to find a job, only 16.7 saw that contact “often” — as they would if the contact were a good friend — and 55.6 percent saw their contact only “occasionally.” Twenty-eight percent saw the contact “rarely.” People weren’t getting their jobs through their friends. They were getting them through acquaintances.
Why are people you’re less close to more valuable in terms of finding a job? You’re more likely to know the same people and things your good friends do. Acquaintances “give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong.”
From Charles Duhigg’s fantastic book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:
In fact, in landing a job, Granovetter discovered, weak-tie acquaintances were often more important than strong-tie friends because weak ties give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong. Many of the people Granovetter studied had learned about new job opportunities through weak ties, rather than from close friends, which makes sense because we talk to our closest friends all the time, or work alongside them or read the same blogs. By the time they have heard about a new opportunity, we probably know about it, as well. On the other hand, our weak-tie acquaintances— the people we bump into every six months— are the ones who tell us about jobs we would otherwise never hear about.
Networking is vital to staying employed, salary growth and job satisfaction. Employees with larger networks perform better. Networking has even been shown to be vital for drug dealers. The three best methods for networking are here, and here‘s how to handle the job interview.
Finding the Right Job
But how do you know if the job will make you happy? Look for something that let’s you do those things you’re especially good at — your “signature strengths“:
Via UPenn happiness expert Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness:
- Identify your signature strengths.
- Choose work that lets you use them every day.
- Recraft your present work to use your signature strengths more.
- If you are the employer, choose employees whose signature strengths mesh with the work they will do. If you are a manager, make room to allow employees to recraft the work within the bounds of your goals.
So you get a great job. What can keep you satisfied with it?
You’ll want to know all about Flow and how to create it. Beyond that, here are 10 things to keep in mind:
- Right now most people are unhappy with their jobs. A boring job can give you a heart attack. And those with no job are happier than those with a lousy one. Most people want to leave their jobs because they don’t trust their employer. Know what the happiest and unhappiest jobs are and what motivates you.
- “…the strongest determinants of job satisfaction are relations with colleagues and supervisors, task diversity and job security.”
- Job satisfaction isn’t just about your job. Try to make yourself happier: overall happiness causes job satisfaction more than job satisfaction causes overall happiness. (Employers should try to make their employees happier too: happy employees make for rich companies.)
- Job satisfaction is key because work is often a bigger source of happiness than home, ironically.
- Stop thinking so much about money. Income doesn’t affect job satisfaction at all and job satisfaction affects income more than you might think. Happiness is only about what you earn when you get paid by the hour. Being paid for performance dramatically increases job satisfaction. More importantly, happiness makes us successful – yes, that’s causation, not correlation.
- Happy feelings are associated with “the fulfillment of psychological needs: learning, autonomy, using one’s skills, respect, and the ability to count on others in an emergency.” Try to structure your job so it fulfills as many of those as possible.
- On the weekend get away from work and stay active so you’re not always thinking about it. People who saw time as money had more difficulty enjoying leisure. Here is a guide to making your weekends more awesome.
- Have a good relationship with your boss. A boss you trust is better than a big raise. A little ass-kissing is good for your health. Being friendly with co-workers is vital too.
- Enjoying our jobs has a great deal to do with how much control we feel we have and whether we’re doing things we’re good at.
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