I read a recent thread and was motivated to tell some of the younger posters here something I tell my trainees at work.
The "Good Ole Boy Network" is real. It exists.
This is how it works: When you get into a career field there are a limited number of people working in that field. There could be 100 or 100,000. Many of them know each other BECAUSE THEY ARE IN THE SAME CAREER FIELD. They've either gone to college together, been to a few conventions together or they used to work for the same employer before one of them moved on to a better position. If they don't know someone then they know someone who knows someone at "such and such" company (your current place of employment).
Now I'm not talking about waiting tables, selling car parts or working retail sales at the mall. I'm talking about a real career. The kind of work that you are going to keep doing for the rest of your life. Now you may change employers a few times to achieve better pay or because of a move but it's the same career just a different company. Is everyone with me so far?
OK this is what happens when you apply for a promotion or if you apply for a similar job in a different town. The person looking to hire you is going to call the company that you currently work for. Who are they going to talk to you ask? They are going to talk to a friend, old college pal or a business acquaintance that they know and trust. They are going to ask "Who is this so and so? He/she is looking to get hired here and I want to know what this person is like. What can you tell me about them?".
Their point of contact is either going to tell them good things about you or bad. Your reputation, not your fancy resume, is what is going to get you in the door.....or not.
So my point is this: If you burn a bridge or act like a butthead at your existing job it will follow you for years and years. The flip side is that if you are a great employee and move/sell/fix like the wind then even if you are weak on paper you might still get the job. Are you batting 600 on the company softball team? Did you get drunk and hit on the bosses wife at last years Christmas party?? Believe it or not, this kind of stuff could make a difference too.
In the end everything you do builds your resume, the REAL one that's going to get passed over the phone. What do you want in THAT resume? <-- That is how you need to live each day.
Now I'm sure someone is going to chime in about privacy acts and other legal mumbo jumbo....well don't. This is the real world and this is how the real world works. Nobody is ever going to tell you to your face that their old college roommate thinks you are a turd of an employee and that's why you didn't get hired.