Social Media Quagmire - Network

A Story from a Pro Who Used Her Digital Network to Change Her Career

Last week Charlie talked about Making Your Net-Work. I’m a hard core advocate, teacher and practitioner of digital and local networking. My commitment to my network goes deep and long.  Charlie and I were just talking about how much more critical our  professional and social media networks are today than they were 20 years ago. (He and I met online in one of the very first conferences hosted 100% online.) Our conversation reminded me of my professional friendship with Rosie Aguilar that I celebrate each year on May 6. It is our “meet up anniversary.”

I talk about expanding emotional bandwidth in relationships, which always reminds me of my friendship with Rosie. She and I navigated some exciting, challenging, high risk waters for awhile. We were part of a company co-launch, co-facilitated 100% virtual strategic planning with global clients, fed our passion for art and fine crafts by participating together in a local arts district. I’ve worked for Rosie as a trainer for her volunteer organization, and she’s worked for me as a research assistant.

We can count on our fingers and toes the numbers of times we’ve been in each other’s physical presence. That distance has created no boundary to our deeply trusting and respectful professional friendship, however.

My friend successfully transitioned her life and her career, and has been on the fast career track ever since. Rosie’s happier today than I’ve ever known her, so I asked if she would share her career transformation story. It brings to life how powerful (and fun) Making Your Net-Work can be for professionals who make the commitment to better leverage their networks.

–    Trina Hoefling, Transformational Facilitator and Trainer, Co-Founder, The Smart Workplace

Rosie’s Story, In Her Words….             

In her wordsIn September 2009, I was taking the last two of my graduate classes at Walden University, a 100% online graduate program. My course, Dynamics of Contemporary, International, and Virtual Organizations, required Trina’s 2000 book release, Working Virtually: Managing Organizations and People for Virtual Success

BAM!  I was hooked on everything and anything having to do with virtual work, technology, social media, virtual management, virtual organizations – you get the idea. I do not do any type of work without accessing social media and the internet.  To work without the collaboration technology tools would be like working without electricity for me.  

Back to my story.

Using collaboration technologies, I found Trina on and found more information about her professional accomplishments. I also looked at her connections and discovered that she lived in Denver at the time, and that we were both members of the same local business group, TiE Rockies. I invited her to connect. Since then, we have worked together virtually and F2F, played together, and remained friends through numerous changes in both our lives, all thanks to our ability to connect virtually.  

Where am I going with this story, you ask? 

How did I transition to a new field of work in a new state while working nights and going to school full-time as a wife and mother of three? 

I successfully transformed my career through using social media to learn and to make quality connections, like the one I have with Trina. I graduated from an online graduate program while still raising rambunctious children and supporting a veteran husband having transitions of his own.  I knew I needed to move my family’s life forward, but was limited in how I could learn and get the real life experience I needed.

Collaboration technologies and social media platforms were my enablers.  

I used social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to make working with and learning from Trina possible. Well that’s not the whole how-you-do-it part, but collaborating and connecting virtually through social media was still key. It was key then and it is key now.  I was able to connect with Trina, learning what was pertinent at that time. And I still learn and connect this way today, through Google search and its child, social media champion, YouTube. There is nothing that can not be learned there.

Virtual work and virtual teams aren’t just for telecommuting anymore. Trina and her expert colleagues are hosting this blog as a place for you to expand your virtual competencies for a more successful work world and life.  Take her up on the invitation.

 – Rosie Aguilar, Tech Ops Project Manager, NGL Energy Partners



Trina’s Parting Advice This Week – Make Your Net-Work

Remember to include your social network in your career development plan. You can thoughtfully design, develop and manage your network authentically when you:

  • Commit to the people in your network.
  • Look for ways to support them.
  • Keep up with them and their careers, asking for wisdom to broaden yours.

Your network is an asset to leverage, and a soul nourishing part of your professional life. It’s a critical part of a SMART career.

If you are curious about how your own personal social network is working to help you with your own career transformation, here are a few easy questions to get you started.

1) In the past six months, how many times have you called on your network to:

            ______ Find or follow a lead
            ______ Give or ask for emotional support
            ______ Help another friend access a resource
            ______ Access information you need
            ______ Get an opinion about a product or service

2)  How often do your friends reach out to you for help?

            ______ Often
            ______ Once in awhile
            ______ Occasionally

3)  Do your colleagues you have added to your network come from inside and outside your organization? Your profession?

4)  What percentage of your active professional relationships are fulfilling?

5)  Do you have a balance loose and tight relationships – people who know you well, and some you admire or have met, but don’t know well enough to call colleagues?

6)  What do people in your professional network say about you?

If you want to learn more,  Start by:

Let us know what you’re interested in so we can schedule your topic! Learn more about how to Make Your NetWork!

–    Trina Hoefling, Transformational Facilitator and Trainer, Co-Founder, The Smart Workplace