Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nearly Naked Networking

Normally, when I'm in the changing room at yoga, I'm engrossed in rushing to get out of there. Yesterday, however, I overheard a conversation between two women that caught my attention.

"Do you have credit or credit policy experience?" asked woman A.

My ears perked up. I have 15 years of experience in credit, with several years experience in policy writing.

Woman B was unemployed but wasn't sure she'd qualify for a position in credit. She was in accounting and was frustrated because even with 23 years of experience, employers turned her down since she didn't have a bachelors degree.

"Go ahead and send me your resume and I'll see what I can do," said woman A.

Oh perfect, I thought. I'm in a dressing room, dripping in sweat and rapidly removing my wet clothing. Here's my prime networking opportunity of the week and I'm ... wearing not much more than a smile.

At this point, pragmatism won out. In this economy, there are 6.1 unemployed workers for every position posting. Job postings have declined by 25% year over year. Way too many employed people are terribly unhappy in their jobs and are trying to make a job change. I recalled conversation at lunch last week with someone who said they had 140 applicants for a secretarial posting, and many were overqualified. Hence, this is no time to worry about being sweaty or underdressed.

I asked woman A if she was a headhunter. Turns out, she works for a credit trade association with a membership of over 800 companies. Her organization receives requests for credit professionals and they keep resumes for distribution. She was especially interested when I said I'd love to work on contract. I had to memorize her email address, since I had no paper nor pen, even to write on my hand a la Sarah Palin.

Woman A's last name is Moses. Who knows? Maybe she can lead me through the desert of unemployment to my next gig. Even if not, I've made a new friend and taken my networking skills to the northern European sauna level, if you know what that means.

On to new adventures ...

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