The right way to network when looking for a job

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Dear Greg, I’m looking for a job and doing lots of networking. Do I send my resume in advance of meeting a contact even if I know they aren’t hiring, or is that presumptuous? What’s the protocol?

It’s a delicate dance, this networking tango. Everyone knows you are looking for a job, but you don’t want to put anyone on the spot, particularly if they aren’t currently hiring, because then why would they meet with you? Yet these introductory meetings are worthwhile even if the person doesn’t have an opening — you can learn a lot, gain new perspectives and meet new people — and doing all this may lead to a job if one opens up. Viewed in that way, I’d just be straightforward and honest. Absolutely send your resume in advance, explaining that you thought it might be helpful to give them some context and summary of your background in advance. Never ask if they are hiring, but do mention that if they come across an opportunity that might be appropriate to please keep you in mind.

Dear Greg, My wife and I work together in a small family business, and while we have a great marriage, we have an awful work relationship. We don’t agree on how to run the business and the tension is affecting the relationship at home. I’m technically the boss of the business and run it day to day. So my question is: How do I fire my wife?

Before I answer that, I have a question for you. Are you insane? I mean, you will barely survive the phrase “I’m the boss of the business!” I’m not going to give relationship advice — you’ve got plenty of other columnists to turn to for that — but if you have the good marriage you say that you do, find a calm moment to talk about the business issues and not take the approach that you’re right and she’s wrong. Acknowledge that you have differences and the business can’t function like that, so someone has to make the final call if you can’t agree. If you’re prepared to let her run it, try that. She may surprise you and be better at it than you. If neither of you are prepared to give up control, I’m putting money down on how this (and perhaps the marriage) is going to end.

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