Monday, March 30th, 2009

Networks Are Like Bridges

bridgeToday is the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge (also called the 59th Street Bridge) that connects the boroughs of Queens and Manhattan. I have a special attachment to this bridge because for me it represents the link between my past, present, and future. As a kid growing up in Queens, I remember the first time I was allowed to travel by bus to Manhattan over that bridge and how magical it was to leave the more suburban feel of Queens and quickly be transported into the hustle and bustle that is Manhattan. And I remember traveling over that bridge again when I moved from Queens to my first apartment in Manhattan, excited about leaving my childhood behind and coming into my own. These days I spend a lot of time going back over the bridge to visit my parents and friends who still live in Queens. I often walk or jog across the bridge and I frequently think about the bridge as a great connector as I watch the cars, buses, and subway cars whiz by. It might not be the most beautiful bridge in the world, but to me it is spectacular, despite the rust, grittiness, and what seems like endless repairs and delays. Networks work in a similar way.  A good career management strategy requires a comprehensive look at all your connectors…those that link you to your past, current relationships, and the relationships you should be building to help your career grow and prosper. Like the bridge, not every relationship is perfect, you may experience delays, and you shouldn’t expect all things from all people. Look at every relationship for its potential and be forgiving of what your contacts can and cannot do for you. Bridges connect people and places and make many things possible. So do networks. Nurture yours, travel across it frequently, and enjoy the view!