Posted by contributor M Hunter.
We all knew the ax was coming at my last job; we just had no idea whose head it would get. What we did get a chance to do was get some job-related duties straight and network a bit. The best people who know what you do are usually the people you work with. They're also the best people whom can give your new potential employers an idea of how awesome (or sucktastic) you are.
When beginning my own job search, I was told that, while my achievements and qualifications were important, that a great deal of my future success would be because of who I knew and who knew me. My references would get me a lot further that simply me on my own.
My references could point me to jobs that I didn't know about. Someone I helped at work could be a great character reference. And of course my immediate superior's opinion counts, as they are usually the first person a new employer goes to and asks questions of. I've been fortunate to enjoy pretty decent relationships with my bosses, and to be able to talk not only about the job at hand, but of future professional goals.
This comes up in so many get-a-job type books, but it really is true: getting a job is largely who you know; keeping it is largely up to you. And as you are helped along to future successes, helping someone else, by being a reference or with some sage advice or even an uplifting email or phone call, does wonders and keeps the good karma flowing.