Originally, I set out to write a blog about networking, but I soon realized that there are two sides to networking. If done correctly, it can help you get a job or find out more about a certain employer. If done poorly, it might cost you a great opportunity. Here are my thoughts on this important skill, starting with the bad.
How to burn bridges
I recently saw an article on Medium.com entitled "I wanted to work at Apple really bad, and now not so much." Jordan Price writes about how he was extremely excited to get a six-month contract job with Apple. However, he didn't get along at all with his immediate supervisor, who insulted him and generally treated him with little respect. Price finally had enough and left without notice one day.
On one hand, I can't blame him. I've worked for a few terrible bosses. At one company in particular, leaving in this manner probably wouldn't have been a bad idea. On the other hand, publicly insulting the largest US company won't win Price many friends. It's possible that parts of the company are excellent places to work, so this may come back to haunt him. Additionally, he was working for a third-party placement firm, which wasn't happy (to put it mildly) with him that way.
Nevertheless, if Price's public appeal is seen by the correct person, maybe it will work out well for him in the long term. Certainly, he's not the only person disgruntled with how he's treated at work.
In my own work experience, it's really hard to tell if I have lost an opportunity due to someone who didn't like me or whom I offended somehow. If it has happened, I would guess the conversation went something like this.
Boss: Hey, Jim, didn't you work with a guy named Jeremy Cook at KludgeCo years ago?
Jim: Oh, Jeremy, yeah. Well, he was OK, but I didn't really like that he did X, and that he was kind of a Y person.
It's possible that never happened. I like to think that I get along with most people.
I do remember one instance where a colleague asked about a resume that the company had received. Since my cubicle was adjacent to his, he turned to me and said, "Didn't Jim work with you at the Stamping Shack?" Apparently, I gave him a sordid expression and said something to the effect of "Jim -- bad." I didn't feel great about it, but I'm fairly certain he didn't get the interview.
Hopefully, I haven't convinced you that I'm a terrible coworker, or that I regularly say bad things about people. I've had many good experiences with networking, and I have been happy to recommend quite a few people for jobs. I'll share a few of my positive networking experiences in another post, now that the bad part is over.
— Jeremy Cook is a manufacturing engineer with 10 years of experience and has a BSME from Clemson University. In his spare time, he enjoys writing for DIYtripods.com..