Pay It Forward

By Shannon Terry

April 24 is National Pay it Forward Day, and it is about people, from all walks of life, giving to others and making a positive difference.

While it’s true that what goes around comes around, there is an important understanding when it comes to universal service to others: What you put forth unselfishly and without the need for reciprocity usually will not come back to you from the same person or in exactly the same way that you gave. The universe is creative, and when we have no expectations our blessings will surprise us and open our hearts in many areas of our lives.

For conscious entrepreneurs and companies, networking and helping others is key to business and career success. Here are a few ways to Pay It Forward in our work:

  • Mentor a student or new grad formally or informally on good work habits, job search strategies and protocols. If you’ve never had a job, or very few, it really can be intimidating to know what is expected (and it’s easy to do or say the wrong things). I still remember my mom preparing me for my first interview at 14 and how the interviewer, her friend and boss, graciously led me through it. What a gift that I still remember 30-plus years later!
  • Become a champion for the best employees in your spheres—both below your pay grade and equal to or greater than it. What manager doesn’t want her boss to hear that her subordinates think she’s doing a great job (Yes, there IS a way to do that without seeming like an opportunist! It’s all about tone, timing, intention, and making sure it’s not tied to any requests or anything to do with you or your work
  • Recommend people for positions and help connect them within your company, in person and on social media sites such as LinkedIn. Just make sure you actually feel comfortable putting your name behind them and truly know their work. Or, simply clarify the depth of relationship and knowledge of that person’s work when making referrals.

If you are a hiring manager, take the time when warranted to give good candidates that didn’t get the offer valuable feedback on their experiences and how they handled their interviews and job search process. They will LOVE and truly appreciate the information!

For example, I know of an internal candidate who interviewed for a job where both parties (candidate and interviewer) quickly could tell it simply wasn’t quite the right match. The manager didn’t just say “thank you” and dismiss the candidate. She said, “So how would you like to use the rest of the hour?” The candidate wisely asked, “Can you give me any advice on other areas where I might be a good fit, and any people you would suggest I contact for networking purposes?” The interviewer did this in part because the candidate was qualified (and smart!), and also because the culture of that corporation was one that valued networking and developing and supporting its staff.

Author’s note: Have a story about a time someone paid it forward for you, or when you assisted someone else with his/her career that you want to share? Love to hear it! Email me at: Shannon Terry is a resume writer and former corporate trainer and instructor on topics ranging from on-the-job customer service, sales and software skills to environmental education and team building activities. You can read more related articles and feedback from her past clients and workshop participants at:

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