Working Out Loud Part 2 – Building Relationships

Last month I talked about Purposeful Discovery, the first of five key elements of Working Out Loud. Those five elements are: purposeful discovery, relationships, generosity, visible work, and growth mindset. This month I will talk about Building Relationships.

You Are Social

Are you social? Of course you are, as human beings we are wired to share and interact with one another. It’s only a matter of what degree we do it. Growing up in a small town in Southeastern North Carolina I hear a lot of people complain about the politics back home. “It’s all who you know” I hear them say. It got me to thinking. What is wrong with knowing the right 4060850226_7dc0a53f27_zpeople? To be fair I think I know what they are saying. The problem is that sometimes unqualified people end up in positions only because of who they know. I must admit, I have had the same hesitation about using personal or professional relationships for career advancement. Working on the technical side of the IT Industry I have always thought my skills should speak for themselves. However, we should not discount knowing the right people and using that to our advantage in our work and personal lives.

How I Learned What Networking Can Be

Here is the path that led me to my current position with eXtension. In 2008 I joined a local coding and programming group, the Asheville Coders League. Hokey name, but there are a lot of good professional programmers as members of this group. The group holds social meetups once a week, in addition to technical talks about once a month. The group also has a Google Group and email list. A member of the group who had ties to the Cooperative Extension Service posted a position with eXtension on the group’s email list. After researching the job I found that I also had attended a conference where I shared a meal with a member of the engineering team at eXtension (we also follow one another on twitter) a year earlier. So my current job was dependent upon at least one of two social networks ( group and Twitter).

Relationships as Our Primary Objective

In January, two time super bowl winning coach Tom Coughlin stepped down as head coach of the New York Giants after 12 years. In his final press conference, he closed by saying that “Relationships have become the primary objective in my career”. Think about that for a moment. Of all the things a NFL head coach must manage; assistant coaches, training, scheduling, and player health, Relationships were the most important thing in his life. As we enter a new year, at work, and at home, may we also consider relationships the most important thing in our lives.

Photo by gviciano / CC BY

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