Do You Need To Step Out Of Your 'Bubble'?

Gail Belsky, job search tipsHere's my revelation for the week: I need to step out of my plastic bubble more often and be around people who are doing interesting things. Staying holed up at home, even if I'm busy with freelance work, means missing opportunities to network, get inspired, and recharge my batteries, which are practically on life support by now. It's just hard to motivate sometimes.

Three weeks ago, I blew off a meeting of a statewide journalism organization that was open to non-members. The event was being held a mile away from my house. But it didn't start until 8 p.m., I had work to finish up, it was snowing, I didn't feel like changing my clothes ... blah, blah, blah. A million reasons not to go, and none of them very good.

A week after that, I missed a book-award ceremony that I didn't even know was happening until four hours beforehand. That's how disconnected I've been. I only found out about it because a friend emailed that afternoon to see if I was going.

The benefits of leaving your bubble while looking for work or exploring new career options extend way beyond networking. Being somewhere different -- exchanging ideas, learning things or just observing -- makes you feel connected and relevant. It gives you hope -- like coming out of mourning and seeing that that the world is still humming along.

I belong to a professional writer's group, which has given me an endless stream of guidance and inspiration for more than a decade. (It's also where I met my editor at AOL Jobs.) The meetings are easy to attend -- we live in the same town -- which makes them easy to skip, too. If I miss a few, I know I can jump right back in. Kind of.

The truth is, when I go a meeting after being absent a couple of months, I feel instantly that I've missed out -- not just on the news of what everyone is doing, but on the energy and excitement that surrounds it. Their projects connect me to a world of possibilities that don't exist within my own four walls.

Making it to a meeting that's five minutes from home really shouldn't be hard to do -- but neither should going to an event or a workshop that's an hour away. Not if they offer you a chance to tap into new energy sources.

Have you stepped out of your bubble lately and found new inspiration?

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