Saturday, May 9, 2015

Networking Is My Ninja Skill

When it comes to networking, the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon has been the quick shorthand for years, right? I myself am five degrees from Mr. Bacon, although I’ve been informed I don’t count, because neither I nor the person I connect with are actors. (My next node on the network is the father of an actress.) Could I get a message to Kevin Bacon if the fate of the entire world depended on it? Probably. No guaranteeing he’d read it – Mr. Bacon is a busy guy and he’s never heard of me LOL. But the point is, I know a person who knows a person who knows a person who knows Mr. Bacon.

Taking a more realistic example, wayyyy back in the early days of my career at the Day Job, I took over responsibility for the majority of the support effort personnel on the facility. At that time, before modern day co-employment issues and what have you, there were literally hundreds of people working in that capacity. Not our employees, but people  running their own little company or working for temp agencies. And at the center, issuing the contracts and agreements) was….just me. And a part-time student.  The first day I logged several hundred calls. I didn’t deal with any of them, you understand, because the calls kept coming, I developed a killer migraine, and I was completely overwhelmed. Day Two I dug in and started organizing and getting a handle on the maelstrom of contracts and issues.

All the rest of my career success stemmed from taking over this one desk. Why is that? Because literally everyone on the campus had contractors. So I ended up dealing with pretty much all levels of employees and management (Director’s Office needs  a temporary secretary? Project needs a consultant on the Van Allen Radiation Belt? Got it!). I supported most of the Projects, all the secretaries and admins (who always know everything there is to know about an organization)….

I like to solve problems. I like to have the answers. I like to know who to call to get help and who to put you in touch with when you need help. I like people. I love learning more about what interests other people.

By the end of my stint in that specialized area, and for pretty much the rest of the Day Job career I knew who to call about anything. So I could get things done. I didn’t set out to learn the place from top to bottom in this manner but that was the wonderful outcome for me.

What’s really lovely about the author world is that especially with social media, author Loops, conferences, group blogs etc.,  all this networking occurs ALL the time. If I need advice on a topic, either I start by asking someone I know and they recommend a resource (or answer the question), or I can put the topic out on various Loops and I know other authors will generously share their experiences and suggestions. I do the same, whenever there’s something I feel I can help with.

I’ve now made some of the best friends of my life through the online connections and a couple of author loops and I’m very grateful. I’ve had some opportunities as an author that probably wouldn’t have come my way without being part of the bigger whole of the romance author world.
I LOVE being able to connect online (twitter is my natural habitat), although face to face at the meetings and conferences is fun of the best kind, but the online links are there 24/7.

Before I leave you with the inevitable Kevin Bacon video, let me just say I agree with several of the other Word Whores that Jeffe Kennedy is  Mistress of Networking, and very generous about reaching out and encouraging others. I continue to learn from her!


  1. Now, every time I see you--be it online or IRL--I'll hear the opening strains of Footloose. You have a theme song!

    ~pops collar~

    1. Unintended consequences LOL! I think that's ok, since I do love the song!

  2. Aww... all the love back to you all! I love networking to solve problems, too. I totally agree about secretaries and admins - those are the people to hit up when you want something DONE.

    Brilliant video - LOVE that they did that!!