Building a Tribe

In Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.”

When I posted my very first spontaneous video about being out of work, I realized that my need to find the next, best job was the same struggle too many friends were going through at that moment. I gazed up at the Star Trek poster from the original TV series that’s been hanging on my wall since I was 12-years-old. Trek philosophy about “the needs of the many” rang in my ear. It made me realize I should be reaching out beyond my own needs. That first video got a ton more views than I’d expected, and I kept posting new episodes every day. Soon I had built a tribe of job seekers that changed my career and my life.

helping-handYour job search does not have to be a lonely, isolating experience. Who made the rule that you have to hunker down alone or depressed in a job search without any significant human support? There’s strength in numbers. When you reach out to other people, you see that almost everyone knows something about this issue. Each new contact can put another jigsaw piece into the puzzle to help you see what’s next. The 2020 global pandemic gave us all a master class learning to use existing and new technology to stay connected to as many people as you like, to build our networks, and to find our tribe.

If your instinct has been to only share the trials of your job search with a small circle of your closest friends, you’re missing out on help from many people who’ve walked in your shoes before. Thousands of job loss experts in our tribe have learned how to make the quest for work shorter and less painful. Good people you need by your side have earned battle scars during their own firing and hiring wars. And the best people are willing to help give you both support and wisdom that will save you valuable time on your next job search.

The first thing to remember is not to wallow in a pity party. When you pool your resources, you generate more job opportunities. By widening the circle of seekers, you all benefit. Joining, or helping build, a job search tribe is a powerful way to fight the funk. You’ll be energized by trusted friends who hold members accountable for making progress—and making fun happen too. Job searching does not have to suck. Tap this collective soul power and you’ll stay on the best road leading to your next job.

My job search tribe has become a touchstone for me and everyone who decides to spend time inside. (I Googled “touchstone” and loved what I found: “determining the quality or genuineness of a thing/a fundamental or quintessential part/a test of authenticity or value of something intangible.”) The support of more souls doing the same inner work to find the right answers helps replace what’s not working in your current search and helps you get to what’s next, faster.

The size of your tribe is not as important as the quality of the people in your circle. It only takes one magic human to change your future. You need active members who stay committed to finding the best ways to connect. Meaningful, regular communication provides the support and substantial job leads to speed your search.

I met another headhunter years ago who asked if I could remember the last time I had gone through every single contact in my phone. He suggested categorizing all of the contacts into an organized, trackable system during any job search. I’d never done this before. (The thought is daunting if you’re more of a right brain person who recoils at the sight of a spreadsheet. If this idea for massive data organization fills you with dread, find someone with experience to help.)

The process of organizing every professional and personal connection in my main files, plus all of my LinkedIn connections, all Facebook “friends,” followers on Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, Venmo, PayPal and on and on, was a task that seemed like it would take forever to complete. Why isn’t there a button on a digital device that can do all this massive organization? I’m counting on one of you to hurry up and invent that, now, please?!

However, I can say with confidence today, that it was worth every ounce of teeth grinding. As I went through the lists, I was determined to reach out to every single person with a quick call, email, or text. It’s good for the soul to reach out to friends and colleagues, and colleagues who become friends. And if you like to play the odds, scrolling through an organized contacts list on a schedule will inevitably tip the numbers in your favor. Reaching out in a way that’s true and real will bring the right people in to you. I don’t know how many LinkedIn contacts you have, but when was the last time you went through them all, A to Z?

My recommendation is to get through them all right away and figure out how to create real dialogue that can be useful for both of you.

When this process starts to work and people start responding, you will quickly begin building your tribe. Others will begin to reach out to you for help. Please pay it forward by responding. Unless it’s clearly spam, or a lame, random sales pitch that has nothing to do with your interest, a quick human reply will continue to widen your network and bring you one step closer to the goal of getting hired.



Rob Barnett

Rob Barnett

Rob Barnett, headhunter, entrepreneur, producer, and podcaster. He has discovered, hired, and led hundreds of talented creators and executives in senior management roles at MTV, VH1, Audible/Amazon and as the former President of Programming for CBS Radio. Rob founded My Damn Channel, one of the first original online studios and networks in 2006. His new book, NEXT JOB, BEST JOB (June, 2021) is the distillation of Rob’s placement expertise.

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