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Back on the Coast

Back on the Coast

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Network

"Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends..." excerpt, Beatles' song.

I'm a lucky guy. I have friends and family, spread out across this large country. It is an informal network, for which I have appreciation and gratitude. For some crazy reason, lol, they put up with me. Maybe because I always give more than I receive. Maybe because if they need help, I am there. My family have always been my best friends in the world, despite the usual difference of opinion. If you are my true friend, your my friend for life, period. That's the foundation of my network.

A strong network is based on relationships, and it takes time to build a relationship.

When you live in a van, you are out there. I vandwell in a Ford Aerostar, so, it's not really disposed to 'cocooning' in, like a regular home. You begin to appreciate dropping over to a friend's place, to watch the game, have a beer and slice. You are grateful, you can go jam on the weekend at your friend's studio, where you store guitars and gear. You enjoy seeing your folks, to cook dinner while doing laundry and later, tinker on the van.

And I appreciate, they are always glad to see me. ;-)

When it comes to work opportunities, my network are my eyes and ears beyond my horizon. They hear about great job leads, commitments and contracts, that I may have never known. One of my friends is an employment councillor; she guides me sagely, and is impressed by my extensive network.

Regarding job choices, everyone you know probably has an opinion of what you should be doing. Most of the time, you don't want to hear about it. But, if your stuck, it doesn't hurt to listen. They know about your strengths, abilities, limitations and reputation. They are familiar with your past, probably enough to consider what might work for you or perhaps suggest something you would never consider.

Volunteer work lets you help others, but, it also lets you help yourself. When doing volunteering, you'll be expanding your network, usually with an entirely new group of people. For example, I am a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. I've done both volunteer and paid work with them. There are Legions across the country, where I'm welcome to drop in. I meet local people of all walks of life, and quite often get offers for casual labour or renovation work. It helps them get someone they trust, and it helps me find work.

Some of my network are ex-bosses or fellow workin' buds. They are always ready to give me a 'heads up' on the local scene, keeping me in the 'loop'. Somebody once told me, 90% of jobs are never posted in the paper or online. I believe it, because I've lost count on how many jobs I received, through personal recommendations.

I bask in the hospitality of my friends and family. I sift the trickle of confidential job offers, picking out the gems. When you are a Nomad, it's nice to get by with the help of friends.....

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