Even if you aren’t ready to start networking, it is never too early to start creating your network map. Divide your map into three distinct categories on which you list everyone you can think of from different phases of your life: people from your past (your school and university classmates as well as former employers, colleagues and employees); your present (fellow parents and people you meet through voluntary work, hobbies or neighbourhood); and future (networks and groups you have yet to join). This is the kind of activity you can do all summer long, adding names as you think of them. Even if you start by thinking that you don’t have a network, you’ll be surprised how your map grows.
Get clearer about what will fulfill you and what you might do next
Whether you have too many choices or too few, a useful way to think about what to do next is to think back to a work role, or part of a role, that you found fulfilling and reflect on what made it so (see this post for a process to uncover more about what gives you fulfillment). As these factors are related to your strengths and values, they will continue to be of great importance to you in the future. By working out what’s important to you, you’ll gain motivation to search for your next role. And you can identify clues about what you want to do next: you might want to get right back to your old field, there might be elements of a previous role that you can craft into a new one or you may get an idea for a business or it might highlight a desire to retrain in a new area.
Practise your story
If you are going away somewhere and meeting new people that you are unlikely to see again, this provides a low risk way to practice telling your story. You can test out and refine an answer to the dreaded question of ‘what do you do?’, including your past work experience and what you want to do in the future as well as what you’re doing right now.
Prepare your family