With A Little Help From My Friend


Readers of this blog on a regular basis know that the content is focused on helping people with job advice. I want to share with you something that happened yesterday in my personal life however which could translate down the road to professional help because people often ask me how one gets started establishing a relationship.

Two weeks ago my wife and I had four trees cut down at the back of our property, and while the tree-cutters sawed the trunks into 3-5 foot sections, that’s a lot of solid pieces and smaller branches to move from backyard to front driveway through a foot and a half of snow. That situation led me to take my snow blower and make a path. Great idea until the machine wouldn’t move forward or back at the end of the ploughing.

Now not being a mechanical guy, I was left with a machine which would turn on and blow snow, but I’d have to manual push the machine forward to use it if I wanted to, and that really isn’t how these machines are designed to be used. No, they are supposed to move forward as you engage the forward gears and you just guide the machine along.

Take it to a dealer for service? My first idea too. However, transporting a machine isn’t as easy as it might sound at first, not when you’ve got a Smartcar! As luck would have it, it hasn’t snowed much since that day, and a shovel has been all I’ve needed to clear a little snow. Thank you Mother Nature! Still, getting it fixed brings peace of mind for when the snows do come, and I suspect we’ve got some more in store.

Back to those trees on our property. My wife arranged with a co-worker of hers to have her come and take the wood away as she heats her home with wood. A great idea for all involved. She takes the wood saving me from having to pay someone to take it away, and she gets free fuel. Not only for burning apparently, she can use the bigger pieces for making items out of as ash is a sought after wood for her. We help her, she helps us.

So over the weekend, I hauled logs and branches out of the backyard along my well-trodden path, and she and I hauled them into her vehicle and she made several trips. Turns out during our discussions that my wife mentions to me that this co-worker of hers fixes her own tractor. Fixes her own tractor eh? Maybe she’d know something about my snow blower problem.

Pretty soon she’s flat on the garage floor with her tools, taking a plate off the machine to get at the problem. Me? I’m standing by in case she needs anything; she looks so happy down there why would I lie on the ground and ruin her fun? And she does enjoy tackling this kind of problem. Apparently she changed brakes at 10 years old, and her parents would only allow her to get her driving licence after she could rotate the tires on both their cars! Yes the woman is handy.

Needless to say, she and I discovered the problem was a sheared off pin on the axle. I bought it at the hardware store and uh, yes, she installed it. No shame there for me. She’s good. Did it work? Absolutely. So now the machine goes as it should, and she’s found a way to say thanks for the free wood.

So what’s this got to do with jobs and employment? Well I’m an Employment Counsellor and she’s a Social Services Caseworker. We work with the same kind of clientele but in two different municipalities. We knew each other before but only on a superficial level. Now we’ve spent some time in conversation and I know more of her and she of me. On its own it may not seem like much. However, this weekend sets up the possibility of some future working relationship helping one another out in our work.

You see you can’t always immediately tell where and how you might be of service to someone or want to ask for their help. If you only go about establishing relationships with people to get something from them, you’ll be building a one-sided relationship and by only taking not giving you’ll be avoided. Word gets around. The best relationships are give and take, and it’s best to connect with people when you don’t immediately need something from them. Asking for help later actually means more and someone is likely to give more to you if you have a relationship first.

I don’t know for sure today if I’ll be in some professional capacity to help her out down the road. It’s possible that I could help her apply for a job, or maybe help her son out when he’s ready to look for work. Might be a suggestion to help a client when she’s out of ideas too. Who knows? A relationship however has been established.

Whether it’s through LinkedIn, other social media or in-person, establish relationships with people around you and get connected. You’ll find that by being connected, giving and taking is beneficial for both you and those with whom you get to know. Get connected now so if and when you do ask for help professionally, the person of whom you ask will be more inclined to assist. Thanks Christine.

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One thought on “With A Little Help From My Friend

  1. It is almost the foremost priority of every job seeker to get everyone they meet during the job search to like them. To put it crudely, if they like you, they may employ you; if they don’t, they won’t. And evidently it’s important, too, for people who are not in the job search. In fact, it’s what builds a good community.

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