I ran into an old friend/colleague recently. He’s still in the business I left behind and he has had a bit of a rocky road since we worked at the same organization, and he had that almost desperate honesty that people get when they’re at their wits’ end. In a stairwell in a parking garage, he told me he was miserable in his current position and was really looking for something new.
I have been there. I have felt that choking anxiety that comes with working in a situation that feels like a cage, with a boss who feels like an abusive jailor. So I said, “I know someone you can talk to – would you like me to set up a dinner or drinks with her? I’ll go to introduce you and be there so it isn’t as awkward. I don’t know if she has anything, but she’s at least one more person in your industry who can keep an eye open.”
So, about 24 hours later my husband and I were having a couple of beers with one of my best friends and my old colleague. And because my friend is empathy personified, she told my old colleague, “Nobody should be miserable. We’ll sort you out.” She named several organizations she knew who were looking for people with his skills and experience. After we left, my old colleague thanked me for setting up the meeting as if it was a hassle or trial for me.
But here’s the thing. I love doing this. I love putting people together who can help one another. It’s pure joy to me. I’ve introduced people on Facebook, via e-mail, and in person. People who can help one another in all sorts of ways and who are mutually thrilled with the new connection. And I told my old colleague, “Remember this: people mostly want to help. It feels really good to help other people. Just let them.”