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It Really is Who You Know (and how you acted when you knew them)

I can’t begin to tell you how many job applications I’ve completed over the past few months.  I’m a little embarrassed about it.  My friends tell me that it’s normal.  Economy. Recession.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

Give it six months, a year, “something will come through soon.”

“God has something for you.”

“God didn’t want you to get that job.  He’s got something better for you.”

I heard those lines of encouragement so many times, I felt guilty about feeling sick of hearing them.  But, I had to admit, whether the comments were made because folk felt sorry for me, or whether they really believed it, or whether these are the comments written in the book of “what to say when people lose their jobs,”; I know for sure, I still got discouraged.

burning_bridgesThere is something that I’ve realized while navigating my journey through the mist of this unemployment fog.  It really does matter who you know.  I finally got a little part time gig, teaching at a small seminary school that I’d NEVER heard of.  Coincidentally there is another Never; I NEVER completed an application for the job.  A colleague of mine in-boxed me on Facebook and said, “if you want to teach the classes, you can have them.”

Heck yeah I wanted them! As tedious as it is to design a class syllabus, study a new text book (or 2 or 3) and grade papers,  I so miss being in the classroom.  I was like a fiend, and jumped at the first possibility of taking a teaching hit.  But that’s not the point.

After all of those applications I competed, both on and off line, not one of them gave me a potential seat at the table of teaching. It was my wonderful colleague who remembered me and suggested to his superior that I would be a good teacher for their institution.  I’ve received another “by way of reputation” invitation like this, was a shoe in for the job, and then, and then, funding was pulled.

Who you know ( or knew ) works, but it only works if you didn’t act an (oh wait, I almost cussed).  Let me start over, it only works if you leave a place without burning bridges.  This. Is. So. Important.  I’ve heard wise men and women say that you should treat everyone right, because you never know who you’ll run into down the road.  It’s true.  The other interview was obtained only because of comments from some of my students at my prior job.  I hear that a couple of them actually failed my class.  But, I must have failed them “gently,” because they thought enough of me to carry my name to another institution.

My point, in your search for grace in certain areas of your life, remember, you are in a continuous state of networking.  Let your net worth be worth something to someone by being nice.  You never know who will be sitting behind the desk passing out the products you need on down the road.

Patching up bridges,


Published inHer Light


  1. Ida Ida


    Exactly! My boss of 10 years taught me Spanish when I was an undergraduate. Can you imagine how things would have gone if I had been an attitudinal, horrible student. And the wonderful thing about God is, there is absolutely no connection between taking Spanish and working as an advisor. At the time, I didn’t know how much of my future would be determined by simply being respectful toward my Spanish teacher. Yes, you and I are qualified to do the jobs we do, but no one else would have ever known if we had not chosen to be nice.

  2. Sandra Sandra

    I really enjoy this article on It is really who you and how you acted when you knew. I am going through a similar situation right now. I always try to treat people with the upmost respect that I worked with. I am encourage by this article. Thank you, DiAnne

  3. Rhonda Maydwell Rhonda Maydwell

    Loved your post, DiAnne. I agree so much!! In my home, I am an extrovert and always looking for new people to meet, make friends, and network with, but my husband is an introvert. I would have thought it would be more difficult for him to make the connections of which you speak. The truth is, however, that he is well known for his integrity, diligence, and as a man that may be counted on anytime, anywhere. I agree with you and the other commenters that seem to know that always seeking to treat people well, do a good job, and be the man or woman God created us to be will help us when we feel lost. I know how difficult it is to maneuver through the hard times we face in life, but I know that once I have gotten through them I was always grateful to look back and see how God grew, supported, and taught me through them. I have probably been guilty of giving you some of the platitude sounding lines, but like all who love you- I really meant them!

  4. Carmen Gregory Carmen Gregory

    True words of wisdom. I may be a fool for saying so, but I am a firm believer when you do right by others and live that ultimate commandment of love (still struggling) that God will take care of you. It doesn’t mean everything will always go your way or happen when or the way you want it to, but He will take care of you and while you’re waiting he will give you ‘pockets of that peace that surpasses understanding’!

  5. Cicely Cicely

    Do I have permission to add this to my Communication for Professionals course? This is valuable information!

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