I am really drawn to the work of Adam Grant, PhD, the youngest professor ever at the Wharton School of Business, and how he talks about the strategic use of giving in business. This talk is built off of his best-selling book, Give and Take, which helps you to identify your natural reciprocity style at work and how to think about how it impacts your work and your relationships.
Your professional network can become your greatest asset if you handle it with care, invest in it, stay responsive, treat everyone equally, be generous with your "5 minute favors" and give strategically.
In my career, executive, and leadership coaching practice, I work with many women who are interested in re-entering the workforce after a prolonged absence. Many of them have advanced education and held high-powered jobs and have been out of work for 10, 15, 20+ years. They want to get back into work, but not necessarily do the same job they did before. They want to explore their options and try to preserve some of the flexibility they have had while caring for their children, a family member, or having had an illness themselves.