By Andy Bowden

Ever been laid off? If you’re around long enough, most of us have. It’s a fact of business life these days. A famous philosopher (or laid off marketer) once said: “It’s how you respond to adversity that makes you a better person.”

I guess so. I was out of work for 244 days recently. That’s 8 months and 5 days……but hey, who’s counting?

What does one do during that kind of time? If one is lucky, they can afford to take some time off. Others can’t. Real, or perceived, outcomes in a situation one may find themselves in range from ending up in a tent under the highway to staying productive in their job search and, to find a new job/next career move. Depending on how one spends that time, done right, and if your attitude is right, you find so much more in the world, business and non-business alike.

During those semi-dark/semi-fun/fun 244 days, I found many things to do. Many ways to be productive. I became a “job search expert”. But doesn’t everybody who’s out of work for even half that time become one? If not, then there might be some misguided adventures and certainly, an unproductive job search strategy being produced.

Anyway, back to me: I found many new things to explore—in and out of the Houston area. I found new friends and business colleagues. I found that my personality can shine for, and on behalf of, others. I found quite a world out there.

I also found the Houston AMA chapter. I found the largest AMA chapter in the country. Right here in my own backyard. I ended up joining a chapter program called “Job Forward”.

Job Forward was founded by a fantastic person. I’ll call him “Bob”. “Bob” corralled a handful of us in-between job marketers into a room in the fall of 2018 before one of the monthly chapter luncheons. That’s where it all began. I found a program I dove into and got more out of it than I put in. Funny how things turn out that way.

Anyway, after I found a job, err, next career move, I was asked to stay involved with the Job Forward program, which I did. I am still a part of the program. I want to help others get their next gig (to put it in more hip terms). I have been thinking: “What would I have liked more at chapter events while I was in my job search?” It’s to get to know more chapter members so they can be more aware of those looking for their next gig. I want to see the Houston AMA chapter membership as a whole understand that there are marketers out there that can help you NOW. There is a variety of talent in the Houston AMA Job Forward group. I love talking to them and trying to help them out. Guiding them to improving their job search activities and tasks. Recommending they network and use the vast job search resources in Houston. Matchmaking them with Houston AMA members.

That’s it! I’m a matchmaker! Watch out world! (or the AMA Houston chapter, more specifically)

That means the next time I’m networking, don’t be surprised if the conversation turns to the AMA Houston Job Forward team. You need to meet them, especially if you have an opening at your firm or agency. Or know someone else who has an open position. Or just to help out because you’ve been asked….and have tons of things to share with others to help them with their job search, whether you or your firm/agency has an opening or not.

Now, I want to apply some analytics here, because that’s all the rage: there are many available marketers to meet within the AMA Houston chapter, what, something like 1,000 to……….let’s see, carry the 1……....a googolplex number of networking connection combinations to be made within our Chapter! Okay, okay, maybe not that many, but you get the point. (And don’t you like how I played in the term googolplex into this?!)

There is an untapped power and a way-to-high level of unaware-ed-ness I see within our AMA Houston Chapter about the marketing talent available within the chapter. There are many in our Chapter that have open positions and scour the social media and online job boards for marketing talent. No need for that. Call Job Forward folk first. Talk with them and get to know them. Have them get to know you. There will be in that another next great connection!

That’s what I see as the power of networking and the power of AMA Houston. I see many of our members not aware of the Job Forward team. I found that I’m here to help change that. I was trained that way as a marketer. I was lucky I was raised to find ways to help people.

Let’s talk soon. I want to tell you about the 22 Marketers that are in the same status I was in for 244 days. I want to work to lower both numbers for them. Work with me in that endeavor!

Andy is your typical accidental marketer—he started his career as a financial analyst. Andy’s now an adopted Texan, surpassing the obligatory time of 25 years of paying Texas property taxes. Andy’s professional background spans too many decades in finance, supply chain, and marketing. Most of his career was heavy in IT markets. His travel bucket list includes hiking the Scottish Highlands and Wheeler Peak in New Mexico. He’s an empty nester, giving him more time to wish he could play golf.

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