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It's one thing to have a lot of connections on LinkedIn. It's a whole other thing to actually connect with those network connections in a meaningful way. The easiest way to build networking into your life on a regular basis is to set aside time regularly to tap into your LinkedIn feed. See what's happening with your connections, and reach out to them to connect when you see there's news. If a connection announced a promotion or got a new role, send them a message to congratulate them! If someone wrote an interesting status update or article that's related to your line of work, let them know how their news or share was impactful. Example: "Hey Kat! Congrats on your new role, I see you made a pivot into business operations. I'm planning my own pivot into the space in the coming months, and I'd love to hear any insight you have on what worked for you. I'd also be down to jump on a Zoom with you for 15 minutes and connect. Here's a link to my calendar to make it easy to plan if that's of interest." (Side note: I don't think sharing a calendar is pretentious, but I have had some people say that. IMO, no one wants to go back and forth trying to find a time that works- this is a simple solution to get connected more easily! I use Calendly and it's worked out great.)

For new connections, it's not just the initial add to your network, but also the follow up that is super important. I like to give context to the connection for my own ease of reference. For example, if I sent a connection request with a brief note, I follow up after they accept it: "Great to meet you at the CMX conference recently in San Mateo. I enjoyed the conversation about your pivot into Customer Success and would love to stay in touch." Or, if I'm the one receiving the request: "Thanks for the connection! I'm curious what led you to reach out." It's a good time to mention connections you have in common, or refer to something in their profile that is interesting to you.

I challenge you to set a goal: Using what you learned here, reach out to three people in your LinkedIn network. Send them a message to ask them a question or share an idea or resource to engage! I'm interested to know how it works out! Reach out and let me know, Wendy at aboutworkstuff dot com.

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  • Writer's pictureWendy Saccuzzo

It's 2013. I finished graduate school, my marriage of 12 years had just ended, and I was back in the workforce full-time for the first time since 2004, back in the Bay Area after many years in Sacramento, and with two young children to raise as a single mom.

It took a bit of time to get my footing in the world of technical recruiting; it was a pivot, and the jargon of Silicon Valley and software engineering was a whole new world to me.

I moved into 2014 strong with a career development plan to roll out, testing the waters on my idea fo job search meetups with Women Who Code in San Francisco.

I met hundreds of members, we talked about job search, interview preparation, the challenges of being the "only" woman, and so much more. We bonded, I helped a lot of people get focused and get connected, and a year later moved into a role as Director of Career Services at Hackbright Academy, the coding bootcamp for women. To say I met amazing people via those organizations would be an understatement- they're the core of my network now.

I had a Big Idea- I had just joined a private practice, Career & Personal Development Institute, in San Francisco, and hoped to move into that full-time eventually. I overextended myself, running the career services program at Hackbright Academy, moving through the company being acquired, growing my private practice, and keeping my people at home surviving and thriving. I said yes to everything, responded to everything way too fast, and didn't slow down, and it took a toll on my physical and mental health. I burned out, big time.

When my position was eliminated in 2017, I was done. It took me months to rebuild my motivation, drive and stamina in the tech world; I'll spare you the details of the awful interviews I endured and the sense of loss over a role I loved and was challenged by. It was clear I hadn't set up boundaries, and I needed time to recover. It took over a year.

From 2013- 2018, I said yes to almost everything- all the free events I could speak at, all the free consultations I could offer to potential clients, and more. However, I don't regret a single yes. I wish I had set up better boundaries to manage all those commitments I made, but wow, did they pay off! If I had a coach or therapist that I saw regularly, I probably could have set up a better framework for myself and my business, and I wish I had slowed down and done that, in retrospect. Oh, the irony! Even coaches need coaches.

Today I have a private practice that's nearly 100% thriving on referrals. I have the most satisfying work yet running career services for an organization that has my heart, Tech Ladies. (I hope you'll join if you're not already a member!) I have boundaries at home and work, and it makes a huge difference. I learned some big lessons and I'm so much better because of it.

Moral of the story- plant seeds for your Big Idea. Reverse engineer a plan to get there by setting goals. Create a roadmap to get there, and build in some accountability for yourself along the way. And please, ask for help and build in support for yourself- I still offer those free consultations, so take advantage. I'd love to help you with your Big Idea.

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  • Writer's pictureWendy Saccuzzo

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

As a career coach and counselor, it's easy for me to talk with someone, hear their story, and pick out themes about what is going on with them, then work with them on setting goals and creating solutions to address their needs.

It's SO much harder to do this for myself. I admit it. I could really use some better habits in 2021. I'm thinking about working on my writing, reading more, getting up earlier, doing more strength training and working on my balance and core, to name a few.

When I went out for my walk this afternoon, I chose to listen to the podcast, "Disrupt Yourself" by Whitney Johnson, Episode 190 with James Clear: Atomic Habits. I made it to 20 minutes before I was struck by the realization that I need to read this book that had been on my to-do list for over a year. Why was I continuously putting it off?

James talks about the habits he formed about writing and the fact that he didn't identify as a writer for a long time, and getting to the place of finally realizing he was doing the thing:

"...and eventually, I don't know when exactly, but I crossed some kind of invisible threshold and it was like oh, I keep casting these votes for being a writer, I guess maybe that's who I am. And this is the way that I like to think about how habits and identify influence each other, which is that every action you take is like a vote for the kind of person that you want to become."

He continues: "Every action you take is like a vote for the type of person that you want to become or the type of person that you believe you are, so the more that you perform these little habits, whether it's reading one page or writing one sentence or meditating for 60 seconds, the more you reinforce, you provide evidence, and cast a vote for that identity of being a reader, or a writer or being a meditator."

Today, I'm casting my vote for writing more, and reading more. Here's my writing. I did it today.

Have you read Atomic Habits? What was your takeaway? I'd love to hear!

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