Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Are You In?

Know what I did last night? Instead of writing my ninny novel that is 9,000 words away from done? Until 2 in the morning even though I was already tired after taking Son and Daughter to Son’s cub scout pack meeting – read, TONS o’kids instead of the usual dozen? I went Link crazy.

I’ll explain.

I got the kids settled, Son read his book, they went to bed, I washed dishes and accepted the fact that I would be missing Nip/Tuck for the night because I was too busy. It was already about 10:30 and I had eaten spareribs Mr. T had cooked between shouts at Daughter to go to bed for the 5th time. Nevertheless, I sat down for a moment to chill and look at this lovely catalog that had arrived in the mail. It was just my style, not cheap and full of unique looking stuff. I was intrigued and found some great gift ideas for a friend who is a new mom and one who is having her housewarming next month. And while I was at it, I found another possible gift idea for my nephew-in-law and his wife’s upcoming housewarming that I think is in January. I saw the company, which I had never heard of before, had a website so I checked it out.

“Ooooo! Wishlists! They have wishlists!”

So I saved the stuff I liked for me and I saved the potential gift ideas.

“Hmm, wishlists? Oh yeah! Amazon!”

Off I went because I haven’t updated that one in forever and I had some new books I wanted to keep track of. And I may as well throw in that Palm I still need. And how about some music? May as well get that list going too. And movies? Yep, add them on. And gee, Brain Age! I really have to get that one day. Toss that on the list too because I think this year I’m emailing it to Mr. T, just in case his siblings say, “Hey little brother, what should we get your wife this year?” Mom-in-law gives money so hopefully she’ll never ask him that question because I don’t take Discover or Visa or American Express but cash gets me everywhere I want to be.

Now that little wishlist update somehow, in my twisted mind, made me remember my business meeting from the night before and my internal struggle with networking. So vital yet so hard when you can’t go to 7:30 a.m. meetings. Not now, not ever. At least not until the kids are practically grown. But one way I can network in my own time is via

You know it? If you are dealing with people in any way and if you really want to get ahead somehow in whatever you are doing, this is one way to help you do that. I joined before I took the job I have but I didn’t really work on growing it until I got into my new position and one of the people who was leaving did a mass email to many of us asking us to join his network. It’s been on my mind ever since to keep up with that.

Last night I had LinkedIn scan all my email addresses for people already in their system. Got about 10 new folk that way, some of whom still need to accept. Then I trolled one of my business groups that has over 300 members. I couldn’t send an invite to all of them because I don’t have everyone’s full name but of the ones I sent, I am still waiting on about 80 of them to reply somehow. A few already did. Sweet.

Then I went back in the contacts list to see who was on from my college days. And that’s where it got interesting. I didn’t know too many of those folk. One was a friend I still keep up with but we hadn’t Linked so we’ve done that now. One sounded soooo familiar that I emailed her to see if she’d write back and maybe we’ll Link. We’ll see. Then there was Mr. Popularity. A BMOC if ever there was one. He graduated two years before me and he was the president of the Kappas (Kappa Alpha Psi, for those who don’t know). He has an unforgettable name so of course I recognized it. I flashed back to my best friend at the time. She ADORED him. I can hear her drawing out his name now in the high-pitched squeal she had when she laughed. But we had to be seen as kids to him. At least I know she must have been seen that way because she always had a little girl way about her. (I told you, she is a former friend. Gets tiring after a while.)

So now he’s a lawyer in my town of birth, Washington, D.C. Surely he must be a BMOC there too I bet. I check his profile. THREE connections? Really? I’m kind of surprised. I mean in our small school, everybody knew his name. But maybe he really doesn’t care about networking in this manner, that’s all. Still, it struck me strange. I had to think. He doesn’t know me from Eve but after all these years, his thinking has to have matured right? Networking is networking right? It was amazing how I instantly flew back to not fitting in with his crowd. Not that I wanted to because they were not my type of people and I have NEVER fit in with the in-crowd in my life so why start then? But it kept me wondering. Contact him? Don’t contact him? No messages, per se, just an invite to Link and maybe a brief note so he’d realize we indeed have a connection even if he was oblivious to my existence back then? I looked at his name and kept thinking and just said do it. We weren’t friends then and I doubt we’d do anything for each other now anyway but you never know. Got for it. I did.

Now you think the story ends there don’t you? Nope.

I scanned more names. Remember how I told you my friend was nuts for this guy? Well I had one of those crushes myself so we had a good time baiting each other about our respective loves-of-our-lives-who-don’t know-we are-alive. And watching them. And stalking them, But only a little. (I was 17 and a freshman. Cut me some slack, eh?) Embarrassing, but true. But Maurice – yep his real name - wasn’t a Kappa. He was a laid-back Alpha (Alpha Phi Alpha. A Phi A. Ice ice baby.) He was quiet. He was smart because he was an accounting major and if you can work numbers, I applauded you then and still do. He stopped my heart every time I saw him but I was not the bold type. Got more bold as I got older but not then. I won’t tell you all the stuff I did with my friend in tow. It’s simply more than I care to tell. But we had fun doing it and it helped me break out of my semi-shyness to boot.

I don’t need to say more. You guessed it. He was there in all his glory. I always loved his last name because it was his and I had my days when I imagine it could be mine. Of course I recognized it instantly.

I checked out his profile. Nada. No connections at all. Kind of sad, actually. Made me want to pity link. He’s got no real info about him except where he works but that was interesting because he is in the same state we went to college in all those years ago. He doesn’t give his work history so I don’t know if he ever left or never left. He’s a CFO now. Good for him. I’m sure he must have a family because I wasn’t the only one who watched him and I knew I wouldn’t be the last. I remember the little Greek girl who came into the picture a year or so into our college days. And that’s what I and my friends called her – the little Greek girl – because she just didn’t fit the picture of who should be with Maurice in my mind and I had no respect for her simply because she existed. (I told you I was a teen-ager.) My friend and I watched her too. She was way to giggly for my taste. I don’t know how he tolerated it. Men.

So I check his contacts and he has it set not to receive InMail but I could invite him to Link if I wanted to. He has no connections right now for goodness sake. He’s crying out to be Linked! But do I dare? Do I tell him I inadvertently found him again and risk having him think I tracked him down all these years because clearly I have been waiting for my chance to cyberstalk him and pretending to be in hiding so he’d never suspect? I pondered. I left. I came back. I pondered some more. It was 2 in the morning. Time to call it a night.

Hooking up with friends and acquaintances of the past is cool and if Mr. Popular wants to Link, that would be fine too. But Maurice is on a glass-enclosed shelf all by himself and I’d rather leave him there in all that fantasized perfection. To re-connect at this stage in life and risk ruining my memories all for the sake of one more link in the networking chain is just not a chance I care to take. It’s nice to know I can go “visit” any time I like but there is no place like home.

No comments: