How to Network Now That the Nest is Empty

Empty nest

As summer winds down and school begins anew, we who have left the practice of law for a position closer to home, involving less work time and enabling more family time, may now find ourselves alone. The kids are back at school. How do we Rezoom the practice of law now that we have the time to contemplate such a move? How does that practice look to us? Who can we find to help us start the wheels turning? Kelly Hoey published two great articles addressing these questions over the past few weeks. I link them below.

The first one talked about the Dream Job Summit Networking Q&A where Hoey was asked questions by people, just like us, who were interested in honing their skills at networking. The second article by Hoey was on career entrepreneurship, Wait or Jump In. Both articles will engage and have you busy reconnecting with the law and your rezooming process. Each has a message and advice we Rezoomers need.

In the first article, Dream Job Summit Networking Q and A’s one question asked was, “What advice would you give career changers?” The single most important advice Hoey gives, which I believe will resonate with rezoomers, is that, “It is easier to ask for help and you’ll receive better advice if you know what you want (or at least the direction you’re headed).” In her article Wait or Jump In she clarifies this point by suggesting, when asked if it “Is better to jump in to networking with an unpolished or unclear sense of identity and purpose or hang back and observe others until you feel sure of what to say and how to say it,” Hoey tells the reader to, “Jump In.” She does this by using her own experience as an identifier, a personal example.

When she decided to change jobs she didn’t really know whether or not she would be qualified for what she had chosen to do. At her first networking activity she said, “She did research.” [She] discovered what opportunities were out there. Once she had the information she needed Hoey “Decided whether or not it met her personal goals or purpose.”

“Networking is an ongoing dynamic process,” Hoey says. You need to identify your needs (purpose), integrate the information you hear from others and adapt your process of networking based on the new information you have received. Always reassess what you like to do and the audience with whom you are networking.

A second question in the Dream Job Summit Networking Q&A article was the age-old questions Rezoomers ask themselves every single day. “I have been out of the workplace and my network has collapsed. Where do I start?”

Hoey gives a few unique suggestions for getting back into the networking wing of things. She stresses, the colleagues you may have lost contact with will be happy to re-connect. The collaboration may be mutually valuable. She also suggests polishing up your online presence. When the kids go back to school get on LinkedIn and Facebook. Start building a professional presence.

The other secret she shares, and one I’ve found very practical, is to talk to other kid’s parents. Many of the people standing next to you on the sideline at soccer may have also left a profession or taken a job not in their field to stay home with their children. The only way you’ll find out is if you ask. They are often your first foray back into revitalizing your network. They know you in a different way and can vouch for your current status while you do the same for them.

When I was out of the practice of law and ensconced in the PTA no one knew I was an attorney. Obviously, I did not practice what I’m preaching. If I had collaborated with my PTA colleagues, my rezooming may have been much quicker. If you’re looking to Rezoom the practice of law, someone’s husband or wife may have a great connection for you as a mentor or sponsor. You already have credibility with them because you are right there with them in the PTA trenches. Don’t be shy.

Finally, it is always suggested, when your network is rusty, to go back to your university or law school alumni events. Go to those alumni coffees and outings. They are there for a reason. When I restarted my practice I went to the New York State Bar Association as well as my law school and undergraduate school alumni events. I gained confidence speaking to people and connecting with people who fostered valuable connections.

We all consider making changes in our lives. There is no better time to start than the present. Begin by updating your LinkedIn profile and making a Facebook Professional page (or professionalize your current page). Then, start asking people in your sphere if they will help you rejuvenate your network. Don’t be discouraged.

Read the entire Dream Job Summit Networking Q & A article by J. Kelly Hoey. Ms. Hoey’s answers are applicable to where you stand right now. You know what your dream job is, Rezooming the law. Use what is right in front of you to attain it.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

This entry was posted in Guest Bloggers, Inspiration and tagged Debra Vey Voda Hamilton. Bookmark the permalink.

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