How often have you heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” My guess is that you probably hear it every so often, especially when it comes to making progress and moving around in the professional and academic worlds. I never realized just how important and true this phrase was until a few months ago. I would always hear it, but I would never take the time out to really analyze the saying and try to apply it to my everyday life.
Last semester, I enrolled in an elective class, Managing Human Service Organizations with Professor Jennifer Battle (whom is freaking amazing and knows EVERYone in the Houston Social Work World), and I learned a wealth of helpful knowledge. One of the many highlights of the course was Networking and the power of it. We would spend at least 15 minutes each class discussing networking and “the who you know phrase” would always come up somehow. A part of our 3-hour session each week with Professor Battle included a guest speaker lecture on a different topic that we covered in class. Professor Battle would bring in a different colleague each week from various agencies and companies in the Houston area to speak with our class and give us their best advice. The thing that amazed me most every time a guest speaker presented was not actually the information presented, but instead was the relationship that Professor Battle would have with each of her colleagues. They all spoke so highly of her and you could clearly tell that our professor had built great relationships and rapport with her colleagues and that she was very well respected in the social work world. It was very clear that they would probably help her in any way they could if she ever needed it. It wasn’t until a random Tuesday night class when it finally clicked in me. “IT’S DEFINITELY NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHO YOU KNOW!”
It seemed so obvious, but for so long I never really understood the saying. I learned that if one wants to grow, one must network. In the social work profession, it is nearly impossible to make change alone and without the help and cooperation of our entire community, we won’t be that successful. It is up to us as social workers to build our networks and help each other so that we can help our clients whom are the people that depend on us the most. Networking and connecting with other social workers is essential and I’m so glad that I finally realized the power of networking and connecting with other social workers!