Frequently, smart professionals act foolishly.


Jeff Altman

2 years ago | 3 min read

Not long ago, I received an email from an old friend. We were close once but now he seemed to have hit a point in his life and career where he wanted money from me.

His email spoke about some of the good things that were happening to he and his family since we were last in contact 7 years ago. Then it took a different turn.

"I am out of work and haven't been able to connect with anyone yet who wants to hire me. Can I borrow $20000 from you?"

Shocked, I took a step back and offered him $20000 of job search coaching services for free. After all, it is one of the things I do professionally and something that can get him back to work.

"Help, I need somebody,

Help, Not just anybody,

Help, you need someone to HELP!"

The Beatles, "Help"

Frequently, smart professionals act foolishly.

They employ magical thinking with their careers believing that if they work hard and do a great job, they will move up the ladder with their employer to the C suite, Maybe they are already in the C suite and they think the music will never stop and they won't have to dive for a chair.

They forget about maintaining relationships with people who they will need in the future when the music does stop as it inevitably does and leave them without a job.

"Hi," their letter begins. "It has been a while since we were last in contact. I have been busy doing (whatever it is they do) for (whoever it is they worked for). My (wife/husband/partner) is doing great. "They start talking about the kids for a sentence or two and then drop the hammer.

"Last week, I was laid off from my job of (number of years) years, not because of performance issues. A new SVP was brought in and he/she hired their old team to join them.

"Can you help me?"

Even smart recruiters make the same mistake.

Not long along, I was affiliated with a firm that employed some very smart, capable and successful search professionals. One day, the owner announced that he was closing leaving everyone in a pickle that they have all since recovered from. Yet, terror reigned for weeks until everyone landed their next job. You see, they had networked as part of their work as headhunters to find opportunities for others but never took themselves into consideration or that they might ever need a new position.

So what do I recommend?

People habitually lurch from job search to job search without having done anything to nurture their networks.

It can be an occasional call, email (do not send a mass email update with everyone's address in the bcc field), message through LinkedIn or social media, text or hangout. It can be meeting after work or going to that conference or place they are always at.

However you do it, remember reciprocity is part of the equation. Need can go both ways and you need to be ready to help someone else, too.

So enjoy this Robert Frost poem and remember that friends do more for friends.

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Source: Family Friend Poems


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2015, 2021




Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, (he/him/his), is hired by people for No BS career advice globally. In the past, he has helped companies hire talent and people find work. More than 40 years of recruiting experience assisting individuals to improve their careers as an executive recruiter. Do you need help with a career transition or in your role as an executive? Schedule a free discovery call or coaching session at Listen to the #1 podcast for job search, No B.S. Job Search Advice Radio wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, subscribe to on YouTube. Connect on LinkedIn at Mention Tealfeed!







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