Introduction from Alana:
Karen Hornig and I connected through a mutual friend, Scott Burditt. Our scheduled one-hour introductory meeting flew by, turned into 90 minutes and we found ourselves shocked into real-time and sprinting out the door, both running late for our respective next appointment. Though we’d never met in person before, it was as if we’d known one another for years!
A recent transplant to Kansas City, I found Karen’s candor about the challenges associated with relocating to a new city to be smart, honest and insightful. As such, I was delighted when she offered to share a few ideas with others who find themselves in similar situations. Her concepts are particularly useful because they are very specific and immediately actionable. Hope you will take the opportunity to put them to work for you. With that, I give you Karen Hornig…
Guest post from Karen Hornig:
Over the past several years I have become something of a change and transition expert. I have gone from being a married, working mother of two teenage boys living on the east coast to a single, empty-nester living and working in the Midwest. Two years ago, I made the decision to move from my home in Maryland to Kansas City to take a new job. At age 55 I found myself leading a small software company in a brand new city.
Relocating is always tough, but there are unique challenges when you are a “woman of a certain age.” Focused on the new job, I failed to appreciate how difficult it is to make a social transition in a new place. I have family in Kansas City and, as an extravert, I’ve never had difficulty developing or keeping a circle of friends. So, I assumed that developing a new social network would happen naturally. However, I lacked two primary sources for making new contacts: I have no school age children and I don’t socialize with the people I manage.
You often learn more from your failures than your successes. If I had it to do over again, I would develop a 12-month plan for building a new social network with tangible action steps. Here are a few suggestions.
- Ask everybody you know, including your connections on social media, for contacts in your new city before you leave your old one. This way you can try to set up meet and greets in advance.
- Figure out what organizations interest you the most and make a list. Houses of worship, art museums or other cultural organizations, and philanthropic organizations are often more welcoming than established social groups. They want you as a new member and will often go out of their way to make you feel welcome.
- Give Meetup.com a shot. It’s not a dating site, but rather a place where people with similar interests post events and get-togethers.
- Be a bit pushy. When people suggest getting together, pin them down. Get their number or email address so you can contact them the next day to set up a time. But, try not to take it too personally when they don’t get back in touch with you. Remember that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. People intend to introduce you around, they intend to follow-up to set a time to meet, but people get busy with their well-established lives.
You have to work as hard at establishing a new social network as you do at your new job and accept the fact that it takes longer than you think it will. Having a fulfilling social network is important to making a successful transition to a new place. So put yourself out there and don’t wait for other to come to you. The effort pays off.