Lately, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to write any high quality posts on my blog, but it is my goal to make the updates happen more frequently. Recently, I have been trying to formulate a self-development plan. In addition, I have been working on putting together a career portfolio of documents that include information about my biography as well as various skills in learning, targeted tasks, dealing with people and self-management. Additionally, I have included documents that describe my task accomplishments and community service experiences.
Due to having a busy schedule, one thing I decided to do is to better keep track of my time, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, in an effort to locate any sources of wasted time. (I would like to thank Vik Duggal for sharing with me some of his career development strategies.) I noticed there weren’t many slots open for free time to focus on professional development or networking. Therefore, one issue at hand was to try to improve on was lunch time. What do I usually do with my lunch time? Well, that’s sort of a rhetorical question… eat, of course. However, there was more to it. Do I find myself eating lunch on my own? Sometimes. And that is a good idea if you’re on the rush or just want a moment of silence, so that you can concentrate on that eating and move on to other things at an efficient pace. However, eating lunch with people who are going in the direction you want to can be a great way to learn new things, share ideas and network.
Learning new things is crucial to everyday life. What is one reason we go to school for? To learn new things. What’s one reason we pay attention to current events? To learn new things. By eating lunch with others, there is an opportunity to discuss things in a micro or macro level. You can talk about the best restaurant down the street from where you live or things that happen on the other side of the globe. At school, people are a great resource, from what class you should take to which professors are good? At work, you can learn how to work more efficiently or just things to know about in general. Like working together to solve problems, it is usually a good idea to have a second opinion on things.
Sharing ideas is a great way to have people thinking about you. It will help you build value and credibility. ‘Ethos’ is a big word. It simply relates to having high credibility. Why do I blog? I hope to share ideas that can be helpful to others. Helping others is a good thing. Not only is it good karma, but sharing ideas that help others is a great way to get yourself known to the community. It is good for career development. And most people welcome second opinions that will benefit what they are trying to do. Hence, there is an online equivalent to this, in the form of discussion forums and Linkedin groups. Those are equivalent to eating lunch online (well sort of), which I will discuss in future posts.
Networking is useful. Why do we use Linkedin or Facebook? In general, it is to network and connect with people that you don’t normally see. By eating lunch with others, you’ll be able to see some and talk to some of the people that you would generally only communicate with, by “liking” their posts. “Liking” someone’s post is NOT EQUAL to communicating with that person. Commenting on somebody’s picture is NOT EQUAL to communicating with that person. Having a chat online is only slightly better, while email is one level up. Talking on the phone or video chatting is also at a higher level. However, nothing beats seeing someone, shaking his or her hands and having a real life conversation. Think about it another way, you usually see less people each day than the number of Facebook friends you have. Considering you have known two people for the same amount of time, who are you going to remember more? Someone you see in person or someone you talk to on Facebook once in a while?
Overall, eating lunch with others is a great way to learn new things, share ideas and build a network of personal friends and professional acquaintances, both of which are helpful in making your dreams come true. But can’t this be done on social networking sites? Yes, but it isn’t the same. Please read the earlier paragraph. Now you may ask… how about eating lunch with people that don’t share your vision or aren’t going in the same direction as you? It can still end up as a positive and rewarding experience, as you get to learn how other people view life, what their goals are and how their goals are related to yours. Anyway, best of luck with your development goals and have lots of fun eating lunch. Thanks for reading this post!