How Adopting a Dog Reaffirmed the Importance of Networking

 

This is a story about your network’s value and considering new options.

Scout1We recently spent several months looking for a new Australian shepherd (aka. Aussie) to adopt. We scoured websites, slowly got re- approved by a rescue group we had previously adopted from, went to see available puppies, and put ourselves on waiting lists. Frustrating, for a family who has owned 4 Aussies already.

We also told EVERYONE we knew that we were searching for a new Aussie. Our goal was to adopt a young adult female, any color.

One night I got an unexpected call from our daughter’s boyfriend, in grad school at U. of Kentucky. A friend of a friend was looking to “re-home” her 5 year old Aussie.   Her lifestyle had changed, and she didn’t have time to give him proper attention. (Australian shepherds are very active dogs who want to be with their people 150% of their days. “Velcro” dogs, they are called for a reason).

Hmmm…older than we wanted, a male, about 20 lb heavier than our previous dogs, but he sure looked cute in the pictures we saw…. So, we “met” Scout by Facetiming with his owner. She told us his positive attributes and warned us of his separation anxiety.

We decided to take a chance and adopt this dog we had not yet met. He made his long trek from TN to KY to IN where we picked him up to our home in IL.

What a gem! Scout seemed at home after 2 days, using his bed only when one of the kids wouldn’tScout dog park share theirs. One month later he feels as if he as always been our dog. This gentle creature is spoiled with love, walked daily, smart, affectionate, and his separation anxiety is slowly dissipating.

At first, it seems so random that we re-homed this dog that lived almost 200 miles away through a 3rd person link. But it was a lesson to me in the importance of using my network. You never know where your next connection might come from.

Scout didn’t fit the profile of the dogs we had before. But that’s the thing about expectations. Change them, and you open yourself up to opportunities you did not know existed.

The journey continues.

Cindy

LinkedIn is not Facebook. Or am I confused?

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for me to stay on top of job changes colleagues are making, learning what media and business and industry leaders are focused on, staying in touch with people I meet at events, researching client backgrounds, and sharing my expertise and opinions.

Lately, however, LinkedIn seems to be morphing from a business-related social media site to more of a social social media site. And it’s weird. I do not like all the changes LinkedIn has made in the past couple month. Heck, it even looks more like Facebook, with the new lay out.

When I visit LinkedIn to learn about your job changes, it seems odd to notify me on a business site that it is someone’s birthday. If you are really my friend, you already know it is my birthday! I wonder how many people wished a happy birthday to a former colleague when that alert came up recently, and she died last year.

The articles that people posted used to be useful, creative, sometimes thought-provoking. Now there are many more articles—and even comments– that are blatant advertisements. Looking at the group feeds of those I belong to, it seems like many of the posts there are not invitations to connect/learn/ask. They are self-congratulatory promotions for their companies and advertisements.

I have written before about remembering that your photo should not necessarily be one you would freely share on a personal profile. People are now sharing random comments and personal posts. With many ##### references.

On the home page, the connection comments/changes seem to be repetitive, with the same ones appearing at the top for a week or more (even when the view is recency). Finally, more people are reaching out to “connect” that I have never met, or had any interaction with who clearly sales people with a canned message, if any.

For me, the recent evolution of both the physical site and the member usage has diluted LinkedIn’s value. My usage of the site has declined, though there are still benefits for adding connections, regular visits and posts to my profile.

Yes, share when you get a promotion, a job change, win an award, have a speaking engagement, update your website, have a new offering, have insights to share with your connections, or questions to pose to your connections. LinkedIn is a useful platform to share about your work highlights, but maybe not your new puppy.   Think about who your connections are.

Am I alone with this viewpoint? What are your thoughts on the recent LinkedIn changes and posts in your feed lately?

The journey continues.

Cindy