It was a Friday afternoon. I was at my desk working reception at Chase Law Firm, counting down the minutes until it was time to leave. As I stared at the clock on my computer screen, I started to feel a sudden urge to check my personal e-mail, something I never did at work. As I covertly logged in, I found a new adventure sitting in my inbox, awaiting me.
It was an e-mail from Dennis Gluck. The subject read: Invitation to Connect on LinkedIn.
I could feel my heart start to beat rapidly inside my chest.
“Could this really be happening? It must be a mistake!” I thought.
Then again, I had a hunch that when he came close to subletting my apartment in 2009 he had seen something in me. Something… professional. I hastily opened the email. There was more. It read:
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn
I could feel my face getting hot, my resume formatting itself correctly.
“He wants to add me? To his professional network?”
Nervousness radiated throughout my entire body. I hadn’t networked in months. Working at the law firm wasn’t exactly my dream job, but it came with health insurance and a steady paycheck. I had accepted my fate and put my professional dreams away. Or so I thought. I felt the wrinkles in my shirt press themselves straight as I clicked the link. The link that would take me… to his LinkedIn profile.
There was a picture. It was taken with a professional-grade camera. Cherry blossoms filled the background. The dedication to his online presence was much more than I had ever experienced.
“Could this be it?” I thought. “Should I accept this invitation?”
I hovered the mouse over the accept button when reason quickly aborted my click.
“Not so fast,” I reminded myself. “You’ve made some bad networking decisions in the past.”
I decided to scroll on, continuing to discover, understand, and critically analyze all that was Dennis’ work experience. I was not disappointed.
His title: Pharmaceutical Sales Rep at Pfizer. His location: Washington D.C. He had been at Pfizer for over seven years!
“Seven years at the same company?!” I thought excitedly.
He wasn’t like the rest! The transient types. The new breed of so-called professionals who jump from job to job and no longer understand the concept of a career. Not only that, but he had increased sales by 24% since taking the position.
“That’s almost one fourth,” I thought. “That’s almost one fourth!”
I felt my business cards start to double in their amount as I scrolled on. Just as I expected, he wasn’t a one-job wonder. He had previously worked as an intern for Lunt Insurance in college where he gained impeccable calendar management skills.
“Oh, calendar management skills!” I gasped out loud.
Realizing what I had done, I quickly looked around in a panic. Had a co-worker heard me discussing a calendar that wasn’t our own? They had not. I was safe, for now.
I excitedly scrolled down to his Skills and Endorsements section. 23 people had endorsed him for Microsoft Excel. 21 for B2B, 16 for Salesforce.com, 15 for Social Networking! My head swirled like the first time I tried on a pantsuit as I quickly skimmed on to the last section of his profile yet to be discovered: Education. Sure enough, he wasn’t a disappointment there, either. The George Washington University. He had a bachelors degree in Business Administration with a minor in Sports Management. A major AND a minor?
That sealed the deal. Right then I knew that this wasn’t just anyone, this was my new LinkedIn connection. I gave in to my networking desire and clicked “Accept Invitation.”
That was two years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I’ve received many LinkedIn invitations since, but no one has been nearly as polished as Dennis Gluck. Sometimes I still look at his profile, but not too often because it lets him know every time I do. Will he ever impact my career? I don’t know. One can never know. But one thing I’ll never regret is taking that moment to network electronically with Dennis Gluck, the man who once came very close to subletting my apartment in 2009, and because of that my professional network was never, ever the same.