Sunday

Keeping in touch with (former) colleagues

Lisa,

Can I respond with another quotation?

George F. Will said, "It is extraordinary how extraordinary an ordinary person is."

And you my dear are extra ordinary.

Coincidentally, not long ago a friend of mine asked me why I stayed in touch with former co-workers. Although I didn't have an answer for her at the time, I strongly suspected it had more to do with maintaining business contacts than maintaining friendships.

It's true. Networking is a drag, especially if you have to go to events and slap on a name tag and shake hands with a load of folks you'll never again meet. I think that's why I remained in touch with former co-workers. It's just easier to drop a note, ask how they're doing, and if there's a job opening that suits me maybe they'll tell me about it.

Some, of course, could sense the underlying reason and others made me feel as if I were chasing friendships, so I've learned to abandon those ones.

Networking means that you have something of equal value to offer and because I was freelance for a decade, there was nothing of value that I could add to their career. That's likely the real reason I've lost touch. I hear from colleagues every once in a while when their contracts end and I feel as if I only matter to them as a source, and an incidental one at that.

I can't say for sure what's behind the sudden withdrawal of contact with some of the people you've mentioned because usually when we guess at these things, we're completely off-base and the real reason/explanation is so different that our assumptions.

Space

Lisa,

I know. She's having a tough time right now. Things didn't go well this month. Again. I don't know what to say to her either. Instead of trying to think of the right thing to say, maybe we should just listen.

No crisis, no growth?

Caroline,

As a follow-up, I sometimes think that I've lived my life in mediocrity as a result.

I'm an "A" student bringing home "C" grades because I don't apply myself. I've given up without even trying.

I suppose that my idea of an "easy life" is more around what gives me freedom to pursue art unencumbered by domestic necessities, a day job, and complicated relationships.

For that, I'd need a full-time domestic worker, a patron or wealthy supporter, and no emotional ties. I don't and likely won't ever have those things and that's my burden.

No crisis, but no growth.

And no, I didn't mean that your current challenge of trying to create a family is anything other than what it is: challenging, frustrating, heartbreaking.

When it comes to the emotional toil this is taking on you, my imagination is limited.