Even in business, helping creates its own reward

A wave of abundance, with the exception of rejections, rarely washes over a job-seeker. Everything else seems in limited supply, including contacts. Enter a person who freely gives you one. Should you do more than write, telephone or email thanks?

Some people feel obligated to send a token of thanks to express their appreciation. However, some relationship-builders don’t expect much of anything in return, because their joy comes from helping people get from Point A to Point B by giving them a good contact.

Larry Buchsbaum, the Marblehead, Mass., owner of LBVentures, provides outsourced marketing and business development for CPA and law firms and is currently job-hunting. His more than 600 LinkedIn contacts are people he knows. He’s so “happy to share” that he recently found himself giving an introduction even to a job-seeker who could have been a competitor.

Normally, Buchsbaum freely shares a contact, but this time he also asked himself if helping out could have a negative impact on him. When he realized the two would be looking for different jobs, he continued giving.

He sums up his philosophy on good contacts with “the more the merrier.” Today is light years away from early in his career when he felt he was “panhandling” and “unnatural” while job-hunting in an environment without established relationships.

Shalom Klein, chairman of Jewish B2B Networking Inc. in Skokie, Ill., receives calls and resumes every day from people — more than 1,600 to date — who don’t have jobs or don’t have jobs they want. He also helps business owners.

“I drink a lot of coffee every day,” he quips. When he hears from employers looking for people to hire, he digs into his database.

“I try to connect the dots, at least get them an interview,” Klein explains. “I can’t guarantee a job or a perfect fit, but close to 400 people have found positions. My satisfaction and compensation is a note of thanks or that they’re starting their job.”

He’s noticed, however, that people in career transitions have introduced him “to the most wonderful contacts or volunteer to help with events or projects I’m working on, and it’s been a fantastic resource.” Their LinkedIn recommendations help him promote his work.

Buchsbaum connects people automatically, without expecting anything in return. He’s even found himself giving contacts when he was supposed to be asking the other person for help in finding a job.

“If I’m walking into a room or a person sends an email and I know people and can introduce them, to me this is natural. It’s just what I do. I love connecting the dots. If you’re a connector, people view you that way, value the relationship and get to appreciate who you are and what you do and are willing to help.”

Neither of these men is looking for compensation. Their professional matchmaking is easy for them and comes without a fee. Klein doesn’t even feel cheated if he doesn’t receive an acknowledgment, because he derives satisfaction from putting people together.

Buchsbaum loves sending a person in the right direction and derives additional satisfaction from “the people who take the referral and run, get back to me and say it was a fantastic contact, because I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do.”

The next time you’ve been lucky to receive a contact, ask yourself whether you think the person really expects the favor returned. A thank-you may be enough. Meanwhile, start your own relationship-building and share the wealth.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net. © 2013 Passage Media.

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