When John mentioned years ago that he had reconnected with an old friend on "linked in" I asked what he meant. He explained that LinkedIn was a social media website that's geared towards business and connecting with other people in relevant industries. "Huh," I said and didn't think much more of it. I casually googled the site and assumed that because I was no longer employed full time I had no business throwing my name into the "linked in" hat. From time to time I would receive a request from a friend to join their "LinkedIn Network" and I mindlessly deleted the email.
It wasn't until I became gainfully part-time employed at DuJour Magazine in 2012 that I felt I could sign up for an account. I was "working" again and was confident my newly updated resume was more respectable than the previous one that had a three year gap that reflected the time I'd chosen to stay at home with my babies. Then I launched the blog/videography business and it was official. I had a right to be there. Now -- in retrospect -- I realize I should have been on LinkedIn all along. How silly I was to swiftly and without thought relegate myself to the "non-working" box. I wasn't working full time in an office over the last four years but I sure as hell was working at home. During my 9-5, 6:30-7:30, I was learning new things, pushing my mind beyond any of its previous comfort levels, and working my ass off to raise this family of ours. I also somehow disregarded the fact that my skills were still relevant, even with a three year break in the action. While I wasn't looking for a full time job, that didn't mean I couldn't still be helpful to others with questions and have meaningful conversations about the industries I had worked in. I had a acquired a truckload full of skills during my years in finance and television and those skills were and continue to be useful. They are worth bringing up in conversation. Each and every one of us has a history worth telling. Sometimes along the way a message creeps into our sub-conscious that says, "That was then. This is now. Let go of the past and move on." That is a dangerous mentality to adopt. It discredits all that we have worked so hard to achieve -- things both big and small.
I think these thoughts beg the question -- why do we all too often discredit the things we've done? Why is it easier to downplay them and longingly idealize the things we've yet to accomplish. I am not proud to admit that in the years that followed my first child's birth I had countless play dates with new friends and it wasn't until I had known them for many months that I even thought to ask them what they had done work-wise pre-kids and if they intended to go back to that work post-kids. The "going back" part is the less important part of the conversation. The thing we need to focus on and celebrate is the "what we did" part. I now realize I want my friends and my children to know the things I did. I want them to know about my accomplishments. That is true whether or not I choose to do them again. I have a history and I am building a future. I now see that the two are very relevant.
Here is my call to arms -- make a list of what you've done and bask in all that's been accomplished. Each tiny piece of the puzzle helps to make it a completed whole. That means all the little jobs along the way are what got us to our current state. The path to our final resting place is often more interesting that the final resting place itself. And don't forget -- just because you aren't employed at the moment -- it doesn't mean you won't be in the future. Maintain your contacts -- from school and the workplace. You never now when you will need them. You also never know when someone will need you. You might not be looking when just the right opportunity comes looking for you. If your name isn't in the hat you have a 0% chance of being chosen. By putting yourself out there, and on sites like LinkedIn, you are throwing your hat in the ring without even intending to.
I want to know the things you've done that have stretched your mind and shaped you into the person you are today. Hit me up at LinkedIn here and I promise to accept your request. I look forward to reading about all you've accomplished.
Follow Lindley Pless on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lindleypless