It’s difficult to get by in this world alone. That’s what we have friends for — to talk to and debrief with, over a glass of wine or cup of coffee, or whatever your poison might be.
A sense of support is the fundamental aspect of our friendships, after all; we rely on them to carry us through life’s ups and downs, and point us in the right direction.
It’s equally important to ensure that our professional networks are well-stocked with the kinds of contacts who’ll take you and your career places. While you mightn’t invite these ladies out to gab over margaritas, here are four types:
The ‘I’ll talk it through with you’ woman
This woman is a combination of critic, adviser and collaborator. She’s the one you bounce ideas or questions off on your lunch break — and more importantly, she’s the one who’ll come back with unfiltered feedback. Often, she’ll have experience or knowledge of the areas you’re asking questions about.
Note: you may find the ‘I’ll talk it through with you’ woman’s feedback stings a little, sometimes. That’s only on the basis that she’s not there to mollycoddle — she’s there to push you to ask the right questions about her feedback, like, what her pain points are or what you can do next. And she’ll make herself available via any means to discuss it.
The ‘I’ll believe in you’ woman
The ‘I’ll believe in you’ woman doesn’t have to be someone from your professional network. She doesn’t have to be someone from your industry. She doesn’t even have to know the specifics of your plan. She simply has to be the one to lift you up when you’re having a bad day or things aren’t going your way, and remind you that no-one stays on the ground forever. She’ll temper the feedback you get from the ‘I’ll talk it through with you’ woman if it’s particularly hard; or if you need it, she’ll be the one to help you formulate a response.
More often than not, these women are the ones that already come from your close personal collection of friends. But who’s to say you can’t find someone from your workplace, either?
The ‘I’ll do it with you’ woman
This chick’s the one you not only email your ideas to, but your working drafts, your in-progress plans, your pitches. She has skills that complement yours so the two of you aren’t unnecessarily doubling on work, and the same could go for her personality. Like you, she has the same drive and ambition; and the two of you share a common view. Regardless of whether the two of you are gunning for separate promotions in separate departments or working on a shared project to elevate your business, you both clearly understand what the other’s trying to achieve and how you can (and will) contribute.
She carries a little of the ‘I’ll believe in you’ woman’s traits with her as well. While she might get knocked down by the same things you do — especially if you’re working on a shared project — ultimately, she’s not the type to let you rest on your laurels.
The ‘impress me’ woman
Let’s get honest here. As far back as you can recall, someone’s always stood out as someone to impress. Either you’ve wanted to dazzle this person with your wit and sophistication, or (and conversely) they’ve implied you don’t have any in the first place. In any case, they’ve given you goals.
The ‘impress me’ woman is your goal. They’re the one you want to pitch your idea, your promotion, your prospects to; or their achievements are what you’re working towards. They’re a fundamental part of the engine that keeps you going, no matter how far removed.
Looking to network around and find these individuals, but also totally unsure about what to do at these events?
Here’s some advice.
About the author
Viv Mah writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate jobs agency who specialise in matching career starters with their dream internship.