There's the heart-wrenching image of the former manager glad-handing at every industry conference and contacting those still employed.
The desperation is not only sad. It's ineffective. No one wants to network with us unless we have something to give them. In exchange for a lead for a better job, they anticipate that we have a whatever of value to trade. That could be arranging a meeting with the head of purchasing at our company or putting in a few good words to have the son admitted to prep school.
Once we are in that kind of position of strength, we only have to make subtle moves to attract the help we need. On the other hand, if we are at a professional bottom, we should back off trying to get help from others.
Instead, we can approach those who are good friends. Usually they are willing to provide all kinds of support, ranging from leads for jobs or clients to straight talk what we have to change about our image.
Another source of help are the fresh contacts we have made in our search for Next. For example, I was turned down for a position in communications at a nonprofit in Connecticut. I asked the Executive Director for feedback, so I could improve my presentation skills. She took me out to lunch and wised me up that I was a bad fit for central Connecticut nonprofits. "Move your focus closer to Manhattan," she said. In addition, she set me up with a client for the boutique I eventually started.
It's a brutal reality that no one wants us around unless we are useful to their careers. If we push up against what is we will not only come across as pests. We will lose our confidence in our ability to influence.