The lives we live are long and often we don’t realize everything we do is connected. Think about all the jobs you’ve ever had, good and bad. With the ability to locate the people we’ve worked with and for over the years, those old jobs and relationships are coming back to the surface. The networks that are ours we build every day with every interaction that we have.
Last week I posted a comment on my Facebook page about an unpleasant experience I had. About a year ago I went to a networking event and was introduced to a woman that produced magazine inserts. I am an versed on non-verbal communication and she was telegraphing her thoughts loud and clear. What I saw on her face sounded like, “I have no interest in meeting with or speaking to this person. She isn’t my target market nor will be purchasing anything from me. I want to find someone else to talk to.” The reason I thought of her and decided to write about it is because her face appeared in my suggested friends box on Facebook. I immediately remember how she was dismissive and how I felt even a year later. Needless to say, I’m not excited about meeting her again.
The first corporate job I ever had I worked as a technical recruiter. My boss, Jennifer Laxton, is a well respected recruiter still to this day. I continue to have a high level of respect for her because she is intelligent, to the point, knows what she wants, and is personable. I just took to her. I was fresh out of college but noticed that she had taken an interest in me. She spent extra time with me and nurtured me on my path. When I noticed something wasn’t right in the tech field (the tech stock meltdown occurred just months after I left), I decided to do something different with my career and left that company on good terms. That was well over 10 years ago but I reconnected with her when I ran into her while she was walking her dog downtown about a year ago. After a few more chance encounters, I ended up consulting for her on social media projects. One day as she was leaving my office, she turned around and said to me, “How does it feel to be mentoring your old mentor?” That floored me…and made me happy at the same time. I respect the businesswoman she is and was so pleased to know that that was her way of telling me that our roles had reversed.
The nature of your character is reflected in the relationships that you had yesterday, the ones you foster today and those you will build in the future. They are a reflection of you. You are building bridges every day. Networks ARE relationships. Nothing more.