I’ve had a great run over the last year. I left a job that was a dead-end for me and took on a great challenge doing search optimization at an industry leading company for 8 or 9 months and landed in a great position at a company I’ve long admired from afar.
How is that possible when the President says the country just passed through the worst recession since the Great Depression?
I was never a good student. I was a chatty, class clown, ADD (before we knew what it was), flirty, sport loving middle-of-the-pack guy through all of my schooling. I took bad notes, mostly because I would rather listen to the teacher. I was always an organizer and social.
When I was 23 I used to grumble the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” when I would lose out on something. In retrospect, it sounds silly to think I thought I knew anything at 23, but still, you know what I mean.
Now 20 years later I’m the guy who now “knows people”. I now appreciate the work that it takes to build a network. It’s work. It’s valuable work. In most cases, I’ll take a “people person” over a really good “what you know” guy. I can find a million guys with the technical skill set to get a specific job done, but what’s much harder is finding the guy who can talk an angry customer down, bring a group to a consensus or talk sense into the director who controls the budget for an important project.
What’s the best of both worlds? A smart person who is also networked. That’s my goal. I try to read a lot to keep up with my smart friends. I just downloaded a whitepaper from DIYThemes on Nonverbal Website Intelligence. Tonight I’ll continue reading The Art of Possibility. Instapaper usually holds at least half a dozen articles for me each night.
How do you try to keep yourself at the front of the pack?
Rob Laughter says
Phil, it’s funny how the “goof-off student” archetype can go two ways. There’s the class clown who does it for the sake of attention, and then there’s the class clown because the work is so menial that it bores him.
I was the latter. Homework? Don’t bother me with that crap–I already know that I can add, dammit!
What you know is important because it gives you a good pool of information to learn from. Actually doing something with what you know is important because then you learn what’s garbage (like adding, duh) and what’s really important.
Who you know is important because it gives you a good pool of people that can help you get where you’re going. Actually knowing how you can help those people is important because then they have the opportunity to actually care.
I’m working on that last bit. I “know” a ton of people. But I don’t know them really well, and I haven’t given many of them a chance to know me.
What I believe is really important is knowing much, but having the wisdom to know exactly what knowledge is important to get someone to where they need to be, and the knowhow to give them that knowledge in such a way that they welcome it with open arms.
But then again, I’m only 24. What the heck do I know? 🙂