Generate The Thing Between
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for connection. But lots of people, once they land the job, put connection on the back burner. Some take it off the stove entirely—and that is a mistake, especially in this economy. I know this because many friends and colleagues are on radio silence most of the time. Until rumors of layoff float by. Then it’s connections galore.
Don’t let connections go dormant.
Connection is something that happens long before you have a need or want to generate a sale. In fact, connection is not about the need or the sale, it is something entirely different. And we make LinkedIn frenemies when we mistake connection for a sale.
For those who understand the importance of connections outside immediate work and building relationships widely, there is a great joy in getting to know people and simply seeing what might happen. It’s not even an introvert/extrovert thing. It is a possibility thing. Maybe it is a thing for dreamers, but I think not. It is for anyone who starts to wonder what is possible outside the structure that encases their days.
This openness to others—this beckoning to others, this waving them close—is the early move toward collaboration. It is the ordinary conversation that starts to generate new things between you, seemingly by magic. It is the beginning of finding common ground that eventually leads to “Wait—what could we do together?”
Curiously, openness to others has a way of working backward into our present job so that we start to see new ways of working, collaborating and connecting.
When teaching college students about professional writing, I try to help them understand that the best jobs are the ones not advertised. The best jobs open and shut before ever posted on a web page or printed as a classified ad. Those jobs are available only to connections. Those jobs are almost incidental to the connection: friends see what you do, how fun you are to work with. Their synapses fire and they say to themselves, “She might be perfect for this need we have.”
Maintaining and growing connection is not for a someday need or someday sale. It is a piece of being human and carries a glory all its own.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston