Harboring a New Addiction

Posted: June 6th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Misc Neuroses | No Comments »

Gentle Reader:
(I’ve always wanted to say that. And the singular form of “reader” is no oversight. Hi Dad!)

Perhaps you’ve been perplexed by my blogging hiatus. Wither that stream of drivel she’s been so diligently doling out? Why can’t I get the latest mundane fact about Little Miss Kate’s development? [She is clapping her hands incessantly. V. cute!] And, moreover, does this mean I’ll have to get some work done now?

Fear not, G. Reader. I am back after having been drawn in by a force so mighty I’ve had no power to fend it off. I’ve been wooed by it’s charms and have now quite willfully, quite passionately, succumbed to it. It’s called Linked In. Yes, the online networking site has taken over my formerly “normal” healthy life.

How did this start, you ask. Innocently, I assure you. Last week Kate and I had lunch with the enchanting and always-amusing (okay, and well-dressed too) Andrew. In our hour together he managed to give me a run-down of no less that eight of our co-workers from The Former Agency. I was enthralled by stories of their shiny new professional exploits, and amazed that Andrew had the run-down on so many of them. There’s no doubt that Andrew can work a room, but he revealed to me that his tapped-in savoir-fair is due in large part to his love affair with Linked In.

So, I went home and decided to drink the Kool-Aid. Throngs of people have been extolling its virtues, but for some reason–even though many of them are folks whom I respect immensely (those who I don’t respect shall never know who they are!)–I was resistant to buying in

Ah, I say *buy* but there is actually nothing to *buy* with Linked In. Sure you can get some fancy extra bells and whistles for a fee, but in it’s most basic form, Linked In is free and a v. cool concept.

Essentially how it works is that you can email all the fabulous (and boorish) people you know from work or life and ask them to link to you via this website. As you comb through your mind, you think, “Wow. I know a lot of cool, smart people!” So there’s a fun element of popularity narcissism that goes along with it. Even if you grow lazy and don’t stay in touch with all the contacts who are linked to you, if they update their profiles when they change jobs, you’ll still be able to find them some day. And (if they so choose) you can see a list of all you contacts’ contacts, and so on, and so on. This is fun if you’re one of those people (like me) who likes reading the resumes of people you don’t know, even when you aren’t looking to hire someone.

Oddly, I’m not even looking for work right now. And maybe that’s part of the drive behind this for me. When I do think of the work-world (and it’s surprisingly not often) I admit to feeling a bit out of the game. So something like Linked In makes me feel more engaged. And when I rise like Phoenix from the ashes in search of my next plumb gig, I’ll be in a blaze of networking glory. It’d suck having to call someone who I considered a friend and be like, “You know, Kristen? Kristen McClusky? Brown hair, sarcastic, we shared an office for 3 years…”

The other thing is, with Linked In more is better. The more contacts you have linked to you, when you some day want to apply for a job at say, The Gap, you can easily find that one of your esteemed contacts used to work there and may have some advice for you, or someone for you to talk to there. And if you don’t have a direct contact who fits the bill, heck, one of their contacts–or their contacts’ contacts–might.

It’s a small world after all. It’s a small, small world. (Join in!)

So the more is good thing is just what I need to show that I can do a good job. My enneagram sign is The Achiever, and from everything from doing laundry to presenting to clients to signing my name on a credit card receipt, I want to do a good job, damn it. (At times, a very frustrating personality driver.) Therefore, I crawled into bed the other night at 12:30AM (this translates to 5AM for people without babies) causing Mark to ask what the hell I’d been up so late doing. “Linked In,” I whispered hoarsely. “I’m obsessed.”

So now, a few days later, I have not written in my blog. I’d love to say that I also haven’t showered or eaten or whatever, but we all know that’s not true. I *have* collected 63 contacts and have 58 outstanding invitations! I *have* compulsively checked email to see if the people who I invited to link to me have done so. And I’ve tracked down a hilarious old Kenyon friend, several other less side-splitting but still wonderful college folk, and many former co-workers who I’ve spent more time toiling away in an office with than I’ve probably spent with my husband altogether in the course of our relationship. I haven’t produced a child with these people, but I have produced myriad pitches, proposals, spreadsheets, PPT decks, you name it—many of which were nearly as painful to birth as Kate was, and took three times as long.

Finally, I have a confession to make. Sadly I have also, in essence, handed the crack pipe of Linked In over to my dear friend Julie. Since receiving my invitation to become one of my contacts, she has engaged in a fervid and relentless campaign to amass contacts. Before my email, she was a stranger to Linked In, so I have no one by myself (and my selfish desire to get at her contacts) to blame. Her husband emailed me today asking what it was I’d introduced her to, lamenting. “We haven’t seen her for days.”

Poor thing. Perhaps we can find some form of Linked In methadone and Julie and I go into treatment together. I’m sure between us, with all our contacts, there’s got to be someone who can get us into a really good program.

No Comments »

Leave a Reply