Flexi-HowTo Interact: How to get back in touch with connections?
Yesterday we said that getting back into the work think mode means refreshing your connections and going out and conversing with more people. This is Interact : the third step of ‘I RISE’, the 5-Step plan to Technical Readiness. It is one of the most crucial phases of your journey, and entails reaching out to people - your bosses, your peers, work colleagues and acquaintances, and start connecting with them in general or even on work specific topics. It’s a great way for you to accelerate the building of your body of knowledge, for you will get to discuss and hear from current practitioners of your industry or function. It is also useful to build these relationships that can be leveraged later for your actually re-entry. And last but not the least, interacting on and discussing work with others is a wonderful way to help build your points of view. It’s the same as while learning a new language, nothing builds fluency better than having to speak it with someone.
In today’s article, we will tell you how to go about it.
- Friends: The first thing you need to know is that the key is to have fun. Yes, you read that right. Meeting people should not be a chore, and as a first step, pick the people you like spending time with and who feel the same way about spending time with you. Many times as mothers and home-makers, we lose touch with our friends, who start seeming like they belonged to a past life. Well, re-awaken that life from its slumber, and let your friends know that you want to go out and party. And by party, we mean whatever it is that you liked doing together. Whether with individual friends or a group, get into the mindspace of having adult conversations, opining about current affairs, opening up your mind and body to new experiences - whether it be the invigorating environment of a cafe, or the chatty comfort of your own home. Even taking these small steps will change you, and make you more ready in subtle and overt ways.
- Work colleagues: Once you have the old friends connect going, aim a bit more professional, and look up the work colleagues you used to have a decent rapport with. Don’t worry about whether they are in the right teams, or even companies that you want to return to. The idea is to start pushing your comfort zone a bit, and to start having work conversations. So pick out a few of the colleagues you enjoyed spending time with, and ask them out. And don’t worry about them not wanting to meet you etcetera - everyone enjoys reviving past connections, it gives them the chance to relive old bonds and memories; additionally, everyone today understands the value of networking. So if they don’t seem to have the time to meet you the first time you ask, don’t take it personally, but try and schedule an alternate time.
The above two sub-steps ensure you are back in the game, interacting with people, talking work, and more importantly, getting a horde of new information about how things have moved in your absence. Continue meeting them, make it a part of your life, a Friday evening or a Sunday morning ritual. And once you feel it’s time, get ready to bring on the big guns - bosses and other persons of influence.
- Bosses: To be honest this phase of your journey will overlap with some of the later steps of I-RISE, for example - Skill-up. Imagine what a great thing it will be for you to be able to tell your boss that you are doing a course on Data Analytics from Harvard or a Compensation and Rewards certification from AON Hewitt. So reserve these heavy-weights for a little later in the journey, when you are able to say with conviction what you want to do and where you want to be, and have some tangible outcomes to show. Unless, you want to seek input on the very thing above, and happen to have a boss-mentor who can help you do that. Then by all means, do an exploratory discussion with them. But even exploratory needs to be of a focused nature as far as your bosses are concerned, so go into the conversation knowing what you know, what you don’t and what you want to find out.
- Influential Connections: Once you are full-fledged looking to rehabilitate yourself back into the work-force, make sure you leave no stone unturned to find and build the right connections. Looking to meet the HR Business Partner of the technology team at an MNC, look for mutual friends and acquaintances and have someone make the introduction. In case you don’t find any mutual friends, and you are sure it’s something worth pursuing, reach out yourself. Go to their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles and leave them a message. Everyone likes to have ambitious and resourceful people in their organisations and teams, and your daring, so to say, could well be what tipped the balance in your favour. Be clear about what you are seeking with this set, since they are most likely busy, and even more importantly, always think and speak in terms of what you have to offer. We have seen that if you make it a habit to view every opportunity from the lens of how you could add value to it, even if it’s wishful thinking at the time, your career trajectory will move in that direction from you simply having thought that way.
And if we could end with one final tip, it is that - always remember to cultivate interest. Nothing and nobody in this world is a waste of your time, in fact everything situation and person you meet has a learning to offer if you look right. So go into each of these interactions with curiosity on full volume, and that in itself will be rewarding. It will also make you a good person to hang out with and someone easy to talk to.
Hope you found this article useful. At the end of the day you have to create your own path and walk your own way. But be sure to carry the right tools and information with you that can help make it easier. We hope this article was that. So go on, pick up your mobile phone, and send out that message - an announcement to the Universe that you are on your way.
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