I recently lost my mother. At 89 years young, she had a full life. There are many things that I miss about not having her with me: her smile, her cooking, but the most thing I miss is our weekly talks- our gab sessions on the phone.

Up to this past June, mother lived with dad in town of Milton (45 km west of Toronto) and I live with my family in Toronto, so the weekly calls made up for the times that I could not drive down to visit with them. It was really visiting with mother; my Dad was and still is a non-communicator.

In the last few years, our phone calls became more and more important as mother lost her two sisters; I became one of her best phone buddies. We would talk at length – mostly about our old family friends, who recently passed away, contact from family members in the Old Country (Italy) and she then, in a very gentle way, would touch on the subject of my job search and when I was going to be employed again.

She would start off with: ”Well, any luck yet with your job hunting?” Then, based on my usual response of: “I’m working on it”… she would give me her take on getting a job.

As a good son, I would listen to her tips on contacting old clients, asking family and friends for job leads and I realize now, that my mother advice was right on – she was an original networker.

More than 50 years ago, my mother moved from a small village in northern Italy to the small town of Milton. Not only did our family move, but also her whole village moved with us. So that was the beginning of my mom’s networking group in Canada. A tight group of Italian immigrants that supported one another, went to church together, partied together, raised strong families, but most important: they networked together.

No Internet, no resumes, no career coaches…

My mother was always networking, every day. It came naturally to her. And when friends came to seek counsel– she gave wise & practical advice. She looked after her neighbour’s house when they were on holidays. Passed a few dollars to the families that need it when times were tough. And as long as I can remember – she always worked. Not all were jobs that we would boast about, but they paid the bills and she was happy to have the opportunities.

But most important, she was an eternal optimist and she loved her family. So that is the advice I give to all of my fellow job seekers: give it forward, give your kids a big hug, and pick up the phone and tell your mother how much you love her.

Joseph Ceneda