Taking the Work Out of Networking


hi its Jill Schlesinger on this episode
of Jill on money are you your own worst enemy when it comes to networking if
your work is sending you to a conference then don’t hide in the corner might be
open while you’re there it doesn’t mean personally open obviously about
everything it just means you know your friend says I really want you to meet
so-and-so because you have a lot in common
be open to that meeting welcome to the Jill on Money podcast we are presented
by Marcus by Goldman Sachs are you shy are you the kind of person who does not
like to promote yourself do you hate the work of networking well then our guest
is perfect for you her name is Karen Wickery she is a longtime veteran of
Silicon Valley she happens to be a communications person who’s a little shy
but karen has written a book an update to her previous work it’s called taking
the work out of networking your guide to making and keeping great connections so
here’s our interview with Karen Wickery you’re listening to Jill on money with
Jill Schlesinger so let’s start the interview with a very important question
here at the Jill on money podcast we like to ask you what was the best career
or financial decision you ever made it almost doesn’t feel like a decision I
have to say I’d been freelancing in San Francisco where I live during the
downturn nobody remembers in 2000 2001 and I had a lot of contacts around
Silicon Valley and one of them had told me she had started at a new funny little
company called Google ha funny and she went there in 1999 so I kept in touch
with her we talked I called her once hey do you have any work first she said no
we’re full up and then she said you know what we do need somebody if you can come
in as a contract writer and like from the the second time I went in I suppose
I said hey I want to work here I want to work here so it was maybe didn’t feel
like it’s it felt more like this is the course I
have to take but I overcame my fear of that commute let’s just say all right so
let’s go back in time yeah so what were you doing before that let’s you take us
through a little bit of your your own career so you you graduate from college
and you’re did you grow up in the Bay Area no I’m a Washington DC native aha
and I went through a little college in Ohio my dad died senior year I went back
to DC no no career plan and I have to say I was in American Studies major as
switches to say literature in history and art all the way yeah you’re a
liberal art I had no plan but of course my mom had made me take typing in high
school and thank God thank God for that so I didn’t have a plan I went to
graduate school in DC at GW another degree in American Studies knew you
wanted to maybe be a professor no I don’t think so I think I just liked
school and studying but I also was also having office jobs where I typed write
that I mean that was the okay was the thing and then I happened to get a job
there after I graduated from GW that happened to be on the subject of my
master’s thesis which is like unheard of so I became an oral historian oh cool
for a grant project and I interviewed people who worked in the WPA in the in
the 30s for two years it was it was awesome and it kind of helped me it was
like I was shy for sure and I was definitely introverted but I also it was
a job to talk to people it was all one to one all ones one you get to ask the
question so like I have a friend who’s a professional photographer and she always
says that it’s a perfect job for an introvert because you can be behind the
lens exactly and you have a lot of power yes
not a lot of responsibility yeah exactly you you you want to draw them out right
and that is that’s a key to networking as as you know from the book to anyway
fast forward I had a variety of basically nonprofit organizational jobs
over time and then I had come to San Francisco in 1984 another non-profit job
but that was a media related job it was for
journalists it was it was an organization for journalists and one of
the board members was one of the first he was a publisher of some of the
up-and-coming personal computer magazines and so I knew nothing about
that world but he hired me he he was a weird guy and he it’s not Dan Farber is
it no although I know him very well I thought you were about to actually give
me over this is where I dance this is where I met Dan Farber who used to do
Tai Chi in the hallways yes anyway yes so that is where I met him but it was PC
World magazine and Macworld magazine and I just happened to you know get along
with and could understand the the founder of these David bunnell so that
was really my leap into the world and so this is a job where essentially it is
are you writing editing yes that and I was a little bit maybe a kind of a chief
of staff yeah I kind of helped him on new projects and I was kind of a liaison
to the editorial teams mhm I just I mean I was a sponge I learned about magazines
there I learned about to the extent it was possible technology at that time
which now is like primitive right right but that that was the beginning of
working in tech right so that was you know 30 years ago you were working
through the mid 80s through the end of the 90s the tech and and in various
almost those kinds of roles journalistic editorial kind of roles yes so now your
friend employee number three who’s a gazillionaire
thank you very much now I hope she’s happy I hope so I think so okay good now
you get in the door at Google as a freelancer and you an introverted
freelancer what are you doing you’re writing a little bit and then are you
doing something in your own mind methodically saying how can I make this
a full-time gig or are you doing that naturally so I would I was hired into my
friend Cindy’s team this was her group
communications right PR small team this is at a time Google had between five and
six hundred and it was kind of all hands on deck and
fortunately I’m a pretty quick kind of utility writer so I can write a little
ad copy I can a good editor I can make something into you know an op-ed I just
did a hodgepodge of things I edited whatever somebody would let me edit
always make him better in my view and so I was just kind of a utility kind of
writer I saw from the beginning I have to be so indispensable so utilitarian
that they want to have me around they didn’t have a role for me uh-huh
and it took about 15 months for somebody to come up with head count to add me as
a new thing and I called myself I said I want my title to be senior editor okay
it’s intense right I like that that’s brilliant yeah and you know what I love
the idea that you sort of go in there and you say okay I got a job to do I’m
gonna be a sponge so I feel like these are all like life lessons especially
having that and you make yourself indispensable and liked how can I
somebody who’s a little shy about that do something that you did which was kind
of make yourself indispensable create your own title and you know get down
career going well two things I mean one is I was not new to technology right so
I already had kind of working knowledge and contacts and experiences that we’re
definitely helpful in in terms of you know not being like wow what is this
crazy thing called Google like I’d already reviewed it as a search engine
aha for one of my you know columns somewhere you know I had credibility
coming in even though all the all the immediate people around me didn’t know
me but I think the other thing is the mission of Google really spoke to me I
mean if it had been you know banking or insurance or something I’m not sure I
would have put myself out there as much it would have been more a job but I
thought hey remember the downturn I was kind of desperate I just bought my first
house desperation work desperation was good but also I you know I knew Cindy
you ran the group I’m just I’m just all in on this and so for that reason I was
I mean I’m always friendly I’m a girl from the 50s so it’s all about being
likeable right we all to be likable so that part wasn’t hard
but I just thought I’m gonna how can I help what can I do to you know add to
whatever you’re doing how long were you at Google nine years and then why did
you leave by the end as much as I loved it and as incredible and experienced by
the end there were 50,000 employees so 500 to 50,000 as nothing else yeah that
was I felt like I watched it grow up I really I which was a fantastic
experience I wasn’t doing anything new I was now someone who people would send me
you know newbies to say here’s how you navigate around the company and
meanwhile you know I was still I mean I was all about publishing and writing I
built up the whole Google Blog Network and I had my eye on and was familiar
with a new publishing platform new whist called Twitter and I knew a bunch of
people there and and I just I just thought well that might be interesting
mm-hmm the original team had already the founders were gone so it was now in the
hands of Dick Costolo Ollie Burgundy had come in as the
executive so and I thought well they seem serious right there you know they
want to go places and so somebody I knew there created kind of a job that was
perfect for me called editorial director and what is that job do what are you
doing in this it’s in communication still and it’s essentially corporate
communication so these days we call this kind of thing a company’s news and
information channels that they own we call that owned content right we didn’t
call it that then but it’s it’s that idea it’s sort of like so the company
blog the company social accounts yeah well at Twitter interesting of course
Twitter has to have a Twitter account right and Twitter had had a blog but it
was kind of dormant so it was sort of like building up what are we going to
talk about and that’s just not product announcements I have an editorial view
on that and then how do you use social to amplify and so what year was that
that you joined Twitter 2011 and you lasted for how long almost five years
2016 I left and why did you leave there Twitter had quite a few ups and downs
and it was a fascinating experience of a
very different company than Google and I’m glad I did it but I was kind of I
bid run through the ringer to be honest a little bit what does that mean well I
just you know we had a couple grounds of layoffs lot of executive change a lot of
executive turnover and it just it was wearing it was hard I had a team I had
to try and keep up their spirits while I was you know feeling another one you
know yes it was it was it was just a little wearing so I felt like I think
I’m ready now to just kind of hang out my shingle okay and so that’s what you
do now that’s what are you hang out your shingle you’re right you edit you wrote
a book so let’s talk a little bit of it and then we’ll get back to Twitter and I
think it’s evil cesspool okay you’re gonna teach me how to use it better I
hope so I want to start with the idea that you laid out that I thought was
really good which is I think a lot of people will hear networking and they’re
like I don’t want to do that yeah that’s annoying
everyone hates right yep I don’t I love it because I am just a voyeur so I just
like to ask questions so you have something called the 11 organizing
principles of no pressure networking and the number one I really do want to focus
on which is be open I think this is really hard for people why is it so
important to be open in that networking mantra of like here’s what you need to
do it means to be being open to the opportunity in other words if your work
is sending you to a conference then don’t hide in the corner like be open
while you’re there it doesn’t mean personally open obviously about
everything it just means you know your friend says I really want you to meet
so-and-so because you have a lot in common be open to that meeting right be
open to someone saying you know I I’d like to take you out for coffee because
I want to hear about say yes I love the the number five here don’t limit your
context can you explain what that means yeah so I think I’ve been fortunate in
having so many kind of serendipitous moments where people cross over lines
wait like we all have professional contacts our
we’re colleagues maybe our former classmates or whatever or you know past
colleagues but we don’t necessarily think about them in relation to maybe
what we want to know about now or no I can only talk to someone else in the
exact role that I want and it’s like well maybe I can’t find you that but I
can find someone at the company who could maybe introduce you to that person
it’s an ongoing chain right so don’t be so like I don’t know what that person
could do for me so no Brad it’s not being open now that is not and also I
think that it is it is a maybe a defensive mechanism right that we build
up a wall cuz now I don’t know if I want to put myself out there really right so
you also have sort of this concept of like a loose touch mm-hmm I like that I
can be happy I do it all the time but that’s but it comes very naturally to me
I know no one had to tell me you had a network is just basically a voyeur so I
love people and I’m a matchmaker what is it that is preventing us from
asking and then how can we build that loose touch concept into our day-to-day
so we hate asking because typically we’re the one in need at the moment it’s
either your friend wanting to help her son or somebody like oh oh you know
reorge coming I got to get a new job you know
your new boss is terrible I got it get out so you feel like the clock is
ticking who do I know who I can ask it’s it becomes a very transactional thing
and then you think well how well do I know them and are they how busy are they
and how important are they and you know it’s just you’re anxious about the whole
thing and you’re needy right and you think oh this other person has the key
to my happiness that’s that’s a lot of pressure yeah
so part of it is just if you’re all the time keeping in touch with people lose
touch which I’ll talk about a minute then you are more in the practice of
just say of the give and get of it because I’m sure you also ask people for
things from time to time sure rather than having it be this it’s a one and
done transaction and then I owe them mm-hmm that’s we have to get away from
that this is why people hate networking right so keeping a loose touch is
something I do as a matter of habit because I too am a connector
and I’d like also just knowing what’s going on with people that’s the thing
that I’ve always done and at 95% of that I do online which is easy for an
introvert but lose touch is something you don’t do with strangers you do this
with people you already know somewhat right or well obviously but the way you
know you might do this is we’ll get to Twitter later I know but if you if I see
something in my feed on Twitter that is I know will be of interest to someone I
send a private message right and I just say thinking of you when I read this it
doesn’t have to be my best friend it can be someone I’ve worked with in the past
someone whose company is there being talked about or something like that just
like thinking of you how are you thought you’d want to see this right I mean it’s
the equivalent of you know people used to like paperclip a note to an article
and put it in the mail which is sadly I still do that no I do carry around
physical newspapers but I do often like well I light something yeah and just
like this interesting yeah or so you mentioned its article right and I
shouldn’t have of course this doesn’t only have to happen on Twitter email is
perfectly legitimate for this or you know whatever your other channels just
like being almost neighborly it is a weird thing like when you think about
that in a digital society sometimes you can really you can feel lonely you can
you’re connected yet lonely right yeah so this is just a way to sort of break
through that and say hey I saw this about you and then it’s sort of the best
of social it’s that’s right of connect that’s right it’s not it shouldn’t be
onerous no it should be fun yeah right yeah and they’re all so these things
don’t require these little notes and sort of you know with a little touch
point they don’t require they’re not an obligation for the other person you’re
not saying can I have lunch with you I need a favor
you’re just keeping in touch so that that’s so that and that when you
occasionally need to be in touch with that same person about something you’ve
had you we’re all kind of in the ether together right and I know you’ve had
that those moments you’ve kind of maybe exchanged a couple of these notes and
then it’s like hey can I actually have coffee with you can I buy you coffee
because I want to talk to you about X this is Jill loan money hey gang it’s me
Jill Schlesinger you know that you’re listening to the pod certified financial
planner CBS News business analysts host of this here podcast Jill on money and I
am here to tell you about our sponsor marcus by goldman sachs they’re helping
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forward slash Lera tea and now back to our interview with Karin Wickery when
you’re gonna make that ask do you come through the front door do you say like I
have a favor to ask you or can I do this you like to do that like sort of up
front or do you yeah yeah no I would I would say usually I’m gonna give some
more context so unless I know them pretty well it’s probably by email and
I’ll say I hope you’re well saw your latest thing you’re great and I have a
favor to ask here’s the favor you know and give them the specifics like it’s
someone I want to introduce you to it’s a question my friend has about blah and
your can be like may I connect you or may I point them to you for that I love
that you say that in the book because you say you do not make a connection
without getting permission from one person correct I mean that’s a big no-no
no cold calls I do that all the time and I find it it’s funny because often
when I’m at work people ask me financial advice because I used to be a financial
planner and a money manager I said I don’t do that anymore
but I’d be happy to hook you up with so-and-so
Joe Blow down the street and then I will say is that okay do you want me to make
a connection or do you just want me to take give you the information you do it
on your own yeah no no makes a connection yeah then I’ll call adviser a
B or C yeah say here’s a deal Karen needs some help
she’s colleague of mine great gal blah blah blah you know this is what I think
the context is I’d be appreciative if you kind of took care of her yep and I
like to sort of smooth it out yep and you say that’s kind of very important to
at least yeah before you start making connections yeah because I mean I have
to say I have like a you know 99% hit rate this way because people say people
will now say to me anyone you want to introduce me to it’s fine just don’t do
I hate but I still asked because I want to have that moment of giving them
here’s the context because sometimes and I will do this myself you know what I’m
not the right person for this particular thing but either let me talk to them
because I then I’ll pass them on or instead I’d like to introduce you to
so-and-so and they are gonna be the one who knows more about this and I think
that’s so smart right um you did mention just briefly email and you say that
emails the killer app why is that it’s still the only way first of all it’s a
platform that is you know everybody uses I know only old people now would like to
introduce you to my nieces and nephews no I have to train but it’s funny even
my nieces and nephews who alright well so through through relationship but
let’s just say the younger ones who are the under 35s they all sort of blow off
email until they get to work that’s right
and then at work you have to deal with old farts like us yeah and then they
gotta be on email yeah because email is the most interoperable of the all these
things right it’s not a something everybody has everybody else has
connects but the other thing is you can just give more context there so you have
to know how to write a good email maybe to someone you don’t know well and to
say here’s the context of what I’m asking or what I’d like to know about or
can you point me to someone who has more info on this
or somebody I want to recommend or whatever it is you you really can’t do
that in a private message in fact on LinkedIn where you you could
do it I always say to people let’s take this off LinkedIn and just into email
because I just get tired of checking their for a whole other line of
Correspondence you’ve one thing you don’t mention because you do mention
email but I’m turning into my mother before your eyes so you don’t know my
mother but the great Susan Hill will say to me I still like the phone yeah I
really like to hear your voice because I like to hear what’s really going on yeah
and I too have come to this conclusion that often when someone is trying to
engage me whether it’s on social or even an email that they are shocked when I
just call them right so what about the phone in this the phone for sure has a
place I mean I myself have cut off long email threads that between a few people
or something contentious with someone it’s like we’re not doing this but email
yeah it’s time for a call right so I think the thing about calling is you may
do it on the spur and you may get away with that but I think for most of us
it’s appointment calling yeah hey Larry can we make a time for a call about this
thing right and that could also include a video chat am i dead right and I do
that sometimes with friends who are not you know we’re we they they’re in other
countries so it’s like let’s make a phone date can mean let’s have a video
chat at this appointed time in our respective time zones right but yes
there’s absolutely a place for that I think that’s most easily done with
people you already know and people maybe you genuinely like and want to have a
conversation with otherwise there’s so much more efficiency to the the
groundwork before that well that’s when I think having like a digital entryway
like if you text somebody and say like I get this like I don’t want to write me
I’m walking my dogs call me yeah yeah that’s right can call me producer needs
to talk to me call me now I’d love to shift gears a bit and go into the how
shall we say the AARP conversations yeah that we have so the over-50s
of which I am proud member saying what is it about being over 50 in the
workplace right now that people need to know because
I’m gonna give you two sides so it on one side I think the over 50 is the best
networking group ever you have a network you actually have your life right on the
other hand there is a certain fear or maybe anxiety around engaging on some of
the newer platforms that prevents you from engaging in a way that might be
helpful to you so what you’re over 50 networking working not working coming
back into the labor force out of the way what what do we need to know there’s a
couple things I mean for people who have not been shall we say digital maybe
email for work but nothing else I hate to say it I hate to pile on but
it is important to be on LinkedIn and I’ll tell you why in a second and it’s
important not to to be familiar with these various tools obviously some may
be required by your work because if you you know sort of expressed dismay about
them or you say oh god I can’t you know do another new thing or something that
is going to end up being a mark against you right this leads to the silent but
deadly age discrimination which is real it is real it’s very hard to prove it
happens but most people you get edged out right right it’s not they don’t say
you’re too old yeah I know it’s hard to prove it is hard to prove I mean yeah
most of my friends who’ve been in this situation you know if I could I pointed
them to a lawyer to help them get a decent severance I will say that and I
did learn this at Google I observe this and it really didn’t have to do with age
but what I noticed is they weren’t hiring people on the basis of what
they’d done before only right they yes they wanted experience and expertise in
certain things but to just rest on that and say well this is how we did it back
there and so that’s what I’m gonna do here no they want to know you know and
and I think most modern companies are more into this now sort of like how do
you think about problems how do you collaborate right how do you
problem-solve you know are you do you have social skills because that that’s
important in a workplace let’s now go back to these platforms yeah
so you left Twitter in 2016 before after the election it was before it was it was
a few months before you know this guy Scott Galloway who yeah right yeah he he
always has a funny comment he says that Twitter should like lay down their souls
every single person should like pray at the president’s footsteps because the
president single-handedly made Twitter a much more relevant and important social
media device than it was prior to the election agree or disagree
Oh disagree okay yeah look it’s a quirky platform it’s not for everybody it’s not
like the others it should not be compared to Facebook it’s not in the
same business as Facebook in a way but the thing about it is your whole
experience there is dependent on who you choose to follow you have more of a
journalist bent or editorial writer journalist bent I do what responsibility
does Twitter and Facebook or any of these other platforms have to making
sure that they are not amplifying lies there’s a few tricky things about this I
do understand why these companies don’t want to be considered publishers they
would say it’s not our information right there they would say we’re like the
phone company this is an old an old yes kind of legal case we’re just the
carrier right right we wouldn’t listen to all the phone messages we can’t
possibly okay and that is true in terms of scale any platform that says and
Facebook has said this several times you know we’re hiring 10,000 more people
20,000 more people to monitor to you know moderate you can’t hire enough
people now the scale of the messages the videos on YouTube for example I mean
it’s just the scale is something people cannot imagine so that is like super
whack-a-mole some things they have done and I think it’s it’s a continuing arms
race to be sure because the bad actors are more and more sophisticated about
how they use these tools and they’re more and more ways to have these deep
fake videos and these you know audio alterations and all these things so
that’s ongoing that’s just the world we live in for them I think
couple of things one is and I think they do this but they can’t really talk about
it is my guess the under the hood stuff in terms of what they’re monitoring and
ideally seeing among the platform I hope they’re talking among themselves in the
background to say we’re seeing this you know we’re seeing weird sign ups or
we’ve discovered this bot but it’s maybe I’ll maybe on Twitter and YouTube you
know for example or something is happening on Facebook but it’s similar
to this other thing they need to have a pretty easy way to have those
conversations and discovery so that they can stop things earlier maybe before
they’re even you know out the gate sort of like what are suspicious account
signups right when they’re created overnight like oh really
10,000 from Macedonia last night you know it seems so reluctant I mean look I
work for a news organization we can’t put crap out there that’s not true right
okay and we get whacked if we do and they really want it both ways and
specifically I mean Facebook is the worst in my estimation you cannot put
something that is an advertisement that is false out on your platform and then
when you’re notified that this is false refused to take it down I think that we
need to know who’s the money behind the ads for number one it’s not just enough
to say the citizens for like behavior right I mean get about we need to know
where these coming where is it socially on source of funds and the backers and
we need to know a lot more about though they know that yeah why not say you’re a
gazillion dollar company why not be out in front say you know what I’m not
letting this happen again taking no political advertising till we figure out
what’s under the hood sources like these tech companies remind me a hundred
percent of the financial service industry I can’t I feel like it’s a
freakin flashback for me I mean the very least they need fact-checking right
that’s a new thing but like we didn’t fact check the TV ads but I think we
need to present them with more context of course that the conflict for any any
platform and really even in print is sort of like
how do you present that and where where is that scene it’s a super big conflict
for them and any action that you’re describing which makes sense to us is
the act of a publisher once again right because they are published it so
whatever I I’ve just speak for myself I think their publisher is they have
abdicated responsibility they hide like oh we’re just the pipes we’re don’t care
about what flows through the pipes it’s baloney it’s like it just it’s not
reality is what it has turned into I would I would only ask that the sins of
Facebook not be conflated with all of every technology okay Aaron out now I
would also say what company isn’t a technology company these days I mean
we’re these big consumer tech brands for sure have dominated because they’re part
of our lives yeah I mean I’m I’m not going to DuckDuckGo
right I’m using Google I mean I’m a fan of yeah and I do trust them although
like that whole YouTube thing is a little scary
YouTube has had problems for a long time spin it out I don’t know they spin this
crap out like well I suspect because it makes a lot of money yeah but it could
make money on its own good good I don’t know I don’t know everything Karen
before we let you go you said you know when we started I said the best career
or financial decisions made and you basically said like hey I kind of like
made myself indispensable and made a career change and got into a little
company called Google what was the worst career decision that you made the worst
I had a terrible I’ve had several terrible work
experiences one of them was with the same guy who I’d worked with at PC world
at Macworld some years later he was the publisher of a magazine no longer with
us called upside it was essentially the business side of technology business it
was on its way down at the time is what I discovered the workplace environment
at that place it was like dead air walking in there it was the only time
I’ve ever had a yelling match with a colleague and it just had a poisonous
atmosphere that place I don’t blame it all on him but it was it was a bad like
year and a half and then I got out I even like the work I did but
it was still like every day was just a pain to go there so I think my lesson
out of that of my advice is you know when the atmosphere is poison get out
you’re listening to Jill on money okay it’s time for the Markus minute we’re
presented by Markus by Goldman Sachs in the hot seat today Karen Wickery she’s
the author of taking the work out of networking are you ready to play I’m
ready what’s one word to describe your relationship with money complex what’s
always worth spending on experience what’s the dumbest thing you’ve spent
money on a technology how much do you spend there’s a good funny question how
much do you spend on a haircut fifty-five dollars it’s your last day on
earth you’ve got a hundred dollars in your pocket how would you spend it on
your last meal and what would that last meal be it would be a Zuni cafe in San
Francisco and I’d have the roast chicken Karen Wickery did I say it right you did
thank God taking the work out of networking is the book and we are
delighted that you’ve joined us today thanks for coming in oh so much fun
thank you Joe thanks to Karen Wickery the book is
called taking the work out of networking we drop new episodes of Jill on money
every Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes we sneak in a Friday bonus too if you
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you can do that anywhere you find your favorite podcasts our music is composed
by Joel Goodman mark talero is our executive producer and self-proclaimed
best artist when it comes to making pasta and sauce we are distributed by
cadence 13 and our show is presented by Marcus by Goldman Sachs you

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