Spent a very pleasurable evening a couple of nights ago with a couple of Oracle aces.
(Martin Widlake – yet another oracle blog http://mwidlake.wordpress.com and Piet De Visser – Simple Oracle DBA http://simpleoracledba.blogspot.co.uk @ The farm http://www.lovelypubs.co.uk/venues/the-inn-at-the-farm)
Much of the time was spent discussing how our careers were evolving and the reasons for that.
I have come late in my life to the skill of networking.
I have tended to concentrate always on my harder technical skills, essentially putting most effort into developing my strengths rather than trying to ameliorate my weaknesses.
However, several years ago, having been in a secure job for several years supporting a legacy application, it became apparent that my job was not as secure as I believed.
It was at that point I started thinking strategically and laterally with regards my career.
My problems included: outdated technical skills, not being a spring chicken in the IT industry, lack of visibility at my current employer and a prejudice against the skill set that I had with my customer. (I might edit this post later to add more problems!)
The lack of visibility at my employer was the result of coming in under TUPE regulations and being based at a site that was convenient for me and my customer, but where there were almost no other employees with a skill set similar to mine. (It was primarily a marketing and training hub.)
I had recently read about exogenous growth theory beloved by Gordon Brown and I established a strategy!
I stopped spending money as far as I could.
I started studying for an OCP qualification.
I bought as expensive new suit.
I joined the UKOUG and tried to attend as many SIGs as possible.
I started networking, primarily by attending university alumni events but also at UKOUG events.
I started this blog.
Of the above, I suspect that it was the OCP certification that has had most value in the initial relaunch of my career. Although I believe that after I was made redundant, the fact that I spent part of my own redundancy money to pay for the required training to achieve this qualification was as valuable as the qualification itself.
Networking to my knowledge, was the least value and yet I have continued to pursue this even after securing myself a new role.
Ultimately, while networking hasn’t to my knowledge advanced my career, it has proved extremely pleasurable. I have developed new friendships, gained personal insight and met people with completely different experiences to myself. (Say for example, an ex-lifemodel and someone who had seen Oswald Moseley at Birmingham town hall.)
So, this is a post encouraging you to network in spite of the fact that it has to my knowledge not achieved for me the goals that I set for myself when I started.
Ultimately I’ve achieved other goals and enjoyed them vastly along the way.
My time spent with Piet and Martin constitute a small but significant part of that pleasure!