According to a number of research sources, 60- 70% of all jobs are not advertised and are found through networking or existing contacts. I have discovered that I like meeting new people and over the last few months I have met many amazing and inspiring individuals. For someone like me who has sat next to the same person 11 hours per day for the last 10 years, this new found pleasure has had the biggest impact on me. You can call it networking, but that sounds very clinical. As I have mentioned before, this is about getting to know people on a different level and sharing the journey.
This week is half term. When you are trying to change career this is not helpful. Having Son 3 around is lovely, but he needs play dates, day trips, trips to the park etc which rule out any time for research, job applications or even thinking! Son 1 and Son 2 are in a state of perpetual revision. I feed them and nag them and my work is done
Before half term I finished my Forensic Science MOOC which was a source of great pleasure for me after years of being a frustrated Crime Scene Investigator, and I finished my WordPress course and moved my blog to WordPress (what do you mean, you didn’t notice?). For the next couple of months I won’t sign up for any more courses and I am not going to apply for any more jobs. It is time for a change of focus, I am just going to enjoy meeting new people and talking to them about what they do, go to free events and offer my services for free if anyone can use me along the way.
Firstly, I have spent some time with Founders and Co-Founders of some great tech start-ups. London (and Shoreditch in particular) has an incredible start-up scene (and some great coffee shops for the caffeine-addicted). The products I saw are amazing and seem to me to be at the tipping point for growth trajectories that I can’t begin to imagine. The Founders of these tech products have sweated blood over their ‘babies’ for 2 to 4 years to reach this point. I can’t imagine what is like to even have the original idea, let alone nurture it for years before finding out if the world is ready for your Big Idea.
Secondly, I have taken up any free events on offer, including a very inspirational Women’s Enterprise Day hosted by Wandsworth Borough Council. I listened to the personal business stories of Laura Tenison (Jojo Maman Bebe), Kate Giles (Crewroom) and Yasmina Siadatan (The Start Up Loans Co). One thing they all have in common is that none of them seemed to have sat down and drafted a business plan before they started. They were never ‘sensible’ — they are risk-takers and simply reacted to the twists and turns of business in their own way.
Lastly, but not leastly, I have also met some inspirational women through Son 3’s school whose business ideas are smaller scale and not techy, but nonetheless they are following their hearts and an idea that makes them happy. While we all need to make a living, for some of these Mums community and sharing is the more important driver for the business.
Call it networking if you like, but it feels more like learning how to live my new life!