Several years ago I had the best job! I loved the company. I loved the folks I worked with. I loved what I was doing. I was planning on spending the rest of my career at this place.
Then, for business reasons, this company decided to move it’s headquarter to another city. I was invited to move with the company but we had just bought a house near my aging parents and had roots in the community.
The company was very good to me. They gave me a big bonus to stick around while they closed our office and a very generous severance. But here I was with a new house (and mortgage), growing our family, taking care of our parents – and no job prospect…
It was a scary time. I was having nightmares that I wouldn’t be able to find a job before the severance money ran out and loose our house and be living on the streets with our young family. OK – that may be exaggerating but these are things that go through your mind when you need to pay a mortgage and provide for your family.
I decided then that I never wanted to be in that situation again. I never wanted to put my family and the people that I was responsible for in that kind of jeopardy. This is what inspired me to get to know everyone in our user experience community. I wanted to know everyone and their companies and I wanted them to know me. I wanted to know who loved their company, their coworkers, and their job – because that is where I wanted to work. I wanted them to know me, too, so if my resume came across their desk they would say “oh yeah, I know Sean – he was at the last meeting – seems like a decent guy. Let’s bring him in for an interview.”
Now I am known as the guy in town who knows everyone and the guy you should know. And though I’ve changed jobs a few times since those earlier years, it has been pretty easy for me because I know most of the folks in our user experience community and they know me.