Hope everyone has stayed safe as many of us deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the possibility of another storm this week. I live in northern NJ and can speak from personal experience how the Hurricane is impacting our daily lives. It can be challenging to think of maintaining business relationships when there are more pressing things going on.
Many job seekers, recruiters and business contacts I know are still without power, or if the power’s back on, they’re probably inundated with follow-ups and hundreds of emails and phone messages. Patience is a virtue to be considered – and time may be needed to get back to a sense of normalcy. Realize that what you’re going through may also be the case with companies and small business owners who may just now be settling back in and looking at a week’s worth of catch-up.
While I was fortunate to not have lost power, I did lose Internet access from home so my local WiFi spot of choice became a Dunkin Donuts. When I had the time to go, like hundreds of others in my situation or in a much worse one (no power), I found myself inundated with emails and voicemails which included potential jobs from recruiters. I actually checked and responded to emails while waiting in a gas line – as I told my son ‘on line’ meant something a lot different to those of us who remember the 1970s gas lines.
I also wondered how to balance the urgency of follow-ups against respecting what others might be going through so I asked my colleagues for their thoughts which I wanted to share in a job support group I facilitate.
They told me that if you’re expecting further communication from a recruiter, you may be waiting a bit. If you have a phone number call it, and see if the call goes through. You may want to go through your e-mail and voice mail and discard or file away more messages than you normally do, so you can focus on those that are job search related.
One person told me they also took advantage of several places that were open and were making WiFi access available to all (town library, church, etc.) and that person, like me, took advantage of every available minute to surf and clean up e-mails.
No matter what your specific situation – whether you have power or not, the best advice I can offer now is this – send a mass email to candidates, recruiters, business contacts and clients alerting them to your situation. Think of your email as an ‘Out of Office email’ but make it personal to your situation. Let your contacts know that you haven’t forgotten about them and will be in touch as soon as you can.
Meantime, if your area has a volunteer group assisting those in need, seek them out on Facebook or by asking people you know.
Bottom line – people are more than willing to accommodate special circumstances as long as they are made aware of them. As for the fallout from Sandy, we’ll probably have to develop a whole new definition for the term “special circumstances,” won’t we?
I’m happy to offer advice and guidance to anyone who needs some support.
Stay safe everyone,