A few months ago, I heard through the grapevine that someone who had assisted in getting me my current job had been unexpectedly laid off. When I discovered he was in a tough situation, I went balls-out to help him. I reached out to him. I sent him links to job resources I used. I put him in touch with people I knew. I put in a good word for him. Whenever I heard of a job opening, I immediately forwarded it to him. For several weeks, I was focused on making sure this guy found a job. He did find a job…very quickly after he was laid off.
I’m reading a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. This book is a national bestselling classic that I heard about when doing some business reading. It’s fascinating. I learned that one of the fundamental tenets of persuasion is reciprocity. When you receive a gift, you feel compelled to return the favor. The situation above is a personal example of how I felt compelled to aid someone who I believe assisted in getting me the job I have today. The book gives other examples like free food samples at grocery stores, the return labels you receive in the mail from non-profit organizations, the flower-giving Hare Krishnas. Why do people try to stay clear of “gift givers?” Because if we receive the gift—even if it’s unwanted, we feel compelled to donate money or return the favor.
In the past three days alone, four people have emailed me or sent me messages through Linked In or Facebook, asking me to help them get a job at my company. Two of these people, I DID NOT EVEN KNOW. Out of the blue, they contacted me, knowing where I work. I honestly could care less about these people. What have they done for me lately or ever?
So here’s my job tip for the day. It doesn’t even have to be for a job. But if you’re in a situation where you need someone’s help, you need a favor, reel through your neural memory bank and ask yourself who you have helped in the past. Turn to those people, not random people like me who you happen to search on Linked In. If the tenet stands, they’ll feel compelled to reciprocate. Karma, baby. Karma!