Why I Network With People in Transition


Not much as changed for many since I first wrote this blog three years ago.

I am still a big believer in networking with people in transition. Today people are in transition because of circumstances and not competence.

I have been doing it for years when the unemployment rate was very low.

There are 15 million unemployed people in the country today. Companies didn’t pull a Loser Lever to jettison them into the unemployment ranks.

I often have people tell me that they don’t like to go to certain networking events because a lot of people in transition attend. They are so wrong. There is a famous networker who wrote a very successful book on networking that was on the New York best sellers list. It stated that you shouldn’t network with people in transition. I stopped reading the book.

The key measure of a person’s worth isn’t the company that they work for but their character. After the great recession I think people will be less and less defined by the companies they work for. In the past I would often meet with people who were let go and they said they were devastated for weeks. They were defined by the company they worked for which was a shame.

Last year I derived a significant chunk of revenue through leads from people in transition. This has happened in the past as well.

People in transition can be great navigators into their previous companies. They can point you to the real decision makers and the people of influence within the company and often connect you.

I also find many people in transition to be incredibly smart and helpful because they have time on their hands in many occasions. I am very robust in social networking and much of my knowledge came from people who were in transition. They made me smart because they are smart. They saved me lots of time.

Many people in transition need to become better networkers. I was at a networking event recently and I asked a person to confirm they were in financial services. He leaned forward and said in a lower voice that he was in transition. I gave him my card. I asked for his. He said to me that he was going to another networking event afterwards and was careful about how many cards he handed out so he didn’t give me one. He was talking to a person with over 8500 contacts in his IPhone.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin.


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Here is one on How to Rise Above the Crowd.  Enjoy.



21 thoughts on “Why I Network With People in Transition

  1. Hank,

    Your comments are quite true. Recently, I have met former and current employees from Bay Area based EMC. They are always willing to lend a hand in terms of networking. In addition, I met that same person in financial services that same night and it was obvious, he was out for himself.


    • hankblank

      Thanks for this Deepak. You have great insights in this area based on some of the content that you have posted.

      Take care.


  2. Rozlyn Greenfield

    From one in transition I want to thank you for this article. Its comforting to know that there are movers and shakers out there that understand that those of us in transition have something to contribute.

  3. A lot of people are in transition due to circumstances & not competence. Those who are willing to think differently & creatively can gain much.
    We have been able to broaden our resource library during the great change in the home furnishing industry from reps who are willing to talk to our smaller design firm. As a result, we have all gained from projects that utilize the new resources. It is a win-win situation. As we look into the future, our industry will forever be changed from the creative thinking of resourceful people in creating new paradigms.
    Thanks for your article.

  4. Dear Hank,

    I always feel that anyone who needs anything represents a great opportunity for me to make a difference. Obviously, people in transition need a job. Sometimes I’m able to provide a lead to one. Other times I can offer tips on how to beef up their resume or perhaps just a pat on the back to encourage them. Eventually, good people will find their way to better times. And it has been my experience that when they do they are usually only too happy to return any good I may have done them. People who miss a chance to connect with others just because they’re between jobs are, in my opinion, idiots. And they deserve all the bad luck their stupidity brings them.

  5. lisa cappel

    Great thoughts…and I couldn’t agree with you more. Most of us have reached a point in our careers where it isn’t about character build…rather its character reveal.
    There’s a great book that I’m sure you’ve read…Healing The Wounds by David Noer…a terrific read on layoff survivor sickness syndrome. Sadly, it has become a gift for many colleagues that are ‘left behind’ when others are in transition – they start to see those ‘in transition’ as the lucky ones.
    I’m looking forward to our upcoming meeting!

  6. Great post. I’ve enjoyed networking with people in transition. I’m a firm believer that what comes around, goes around. I’ve been in their shoes before, so I know how it feels. At some point, the person in transition will become a person formerly in transition and they just may hire you!

  7. Steve Hutchinson

    Thanks for the gift of wise words Hank. When I was in transition, you helped me, you became a true friend, and you comforted me. True character. And after I landed a bigger and better job in the toughest job market we’ve ever seen in our lives, I’ve continued to pay it forward. The Hank Blank way. I appreciate you for that.

    I was thinking earlier today before I read your post about how I used to be defined by my company. For 11 years straight out of college, I was a “Bridgestone guy”. Everyone knew it. I knew it. I then became a “Castrol guy”. Same results.

    Now, I’m my own person, defined by my values and beliefs. I sleep well at night. If it goes my way, so be it. If not, so be that. But, no compromising on my part for my values and beliefs. None. I define “me”.

    Steve Hutchinson

  8. Interesting perspective Hank. I read this with interest:

    “Last year I derived a significant chunk of revenue through leads from people in transition. This has happened in the past as well.”

    I wish I could say this has been my experience. Over the years I have met with many who have asked for career advice either because they were starting out in their careers or in transition. I can only think of 2 people who ever thought to reach back when they were settled to offer business, a lead or a referral. This was a real wake-up call during the last 2 recessions when times were hard and business much harder to come by. Even a “how are things going for you in this economic climate” call would have at least showed a spec of caring.

    As a result, I am less inclined to just give advice to everyone who asks for it and that’s a shame.

  9. Hank, there’s another reason to network with people in transition. When the recession is over – and eventually, it WILL be over – people will remember whether or not you helped them. I have helped many, many people in transition. When they thank me, I tell them the best way to show their gratitude is to pay it forward and help someone else – because we’re all in this together.

  10. They believe that there is never something for nothing
    and so hesitate in using the Card, fearful they will owe something later.
    Es kann also vorkommen, dass Ihre Hausfinanzierung oder Ihr Kredit auf
    Grund dieser Eintr. ft bekommen; Obwohl es extrem so wichtig wirkt, Ihre
    Suchoptionen erforschen, w.

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