I'm actually a year away from my ten year high school reunion - boy, don't I have lot to show for my time since then. I never really planned on attending. I didn't attend the five year get together my class had, and I didn't see any reason to go any of the future events either.
It may come as a surprise to you, readers, but Esq. Never wasn't exactly Big Man on Campus in high school. Showing up ten years later while living in the house in which I lived when I attended high school after seven years of education isn't exactly the path to belatedly advancing up the social hierarchy.
While I don't know what I'll be doing while my former classmates are busy one-upping each other with tales about their careers and personal lives a year from now, I do know one thing: I don't want to end up being a caterer at the event. This means doing what I can to secure to real employment sometime this year.
Okay, I don't honestly think there's any chance I'll be a caterer at my high school reunion - I'm overqualified after all. Why then do I bring up the event? Well, given my current networking outreach, it seems like I'm having the high school reunion I never planned (or wanted).
Because I did not have any decent employment prospects when I graduated from law school, I was forced to move back home. I neither went to school (past high school) nor worked full time in my current state. That leaves me with limited contacts.
The only people I really know are those who graduated from high school with me. Here's a sample conversation I had with one of my former chums:
Esq. Never: Hey, Ralph, it's [Esq. Never]. It's great to talk with you again. How's it going, buddy?
Ralph: Who is this?
EN: It's [EN]. You know, we sat in the same row in 11th grade trig. Boy, those were some crazy times taking those derivatives and stuff.
R: I think that's calculus...Yeah, I kind of remember you. You aren't trying to sell me something are you?
EN: No, man, you've got me all wrong. I just want to catch up with my old buddy. Say, did you end marrying Amy? You two were so great together.
R: No, actually, she ended up dumping me after college to marry some hot shot investment banker. It's actually really painful to think about. Thanks for bringing it up.
EN: Hey, that stinks, brother. You know what also stinks? This job market.
R: Yeah, I've heard it's tough. I'm just glad that I have a steady job working for a wholesaler, marketing our merchandise to local retailers.
EN: Are you serious?! I've been trying to get into the uh, merchandise retail, err, marketing business.
R: I thought I heard that you went to law school.
EN: Law school? No way. I spent the last three years, uh, building thatched huts for poor people, in, uh, one of them loser countries.
R: I see.
EN: So anyway, do you think maybe you could put me in touch with some of the contacts you have in, err, the business you're in? Maybe pass along my resume.
R: Well, I guess...Hey, weren't you the guy who never returned my Warcraft IICD and when I tried to get it back from you, you told Amy I was seeing other girls?
EN: Whoa, man, would you look at the time? I've got to run, but hey it was great catching up with you. I look forward to seeing you at the reunion. [Click]
Well, in all seriousness, it did seem a bit awkward to contact people out of the blue to ask for career assistance. While it was pretty transparent that I was getting in touch with them out of self interest, people seemed genuinely happy to help. Obviously, I'm going to owe a lot of people favors in the future, but after going through this from this side of the table, I'll be happy to help.
I know there's a lot skepticism about networking, but it definitely works better if you're working with people you know personally and not just as professional contacts. After all, not everyone gets their jobs through OCI and job listings...even in the non-legal world.
The big problem with trying to do this with legal jobs is that the people you know (from say high school) can't do much to help you. If your buddy is a solo practitioner, he probably can't afford to take you on. If he is a BigLaw associate, he has no clout to bring you on board.
This isn't necessarily true for non-legal industries. Sure, most of your high school and college pals aren't CEO's, but within a few years at many companies, a person could be in a position to either hire new employees or to influence whom the company hires.
We'll see how this pans out, but it's great to have people who are personally interested in you succeeding on your side. I just wish I didn't make so many fat jokes about them in back in high school.