Standing on ledges alone sucks. I always look for someone to jump with or someone to dare me to jump coz I like a dare.
Often when it comes to your career there are ledges that you need to need to jump or leap from blind. Nothing is worse than the cold email. It's a necessary part of making a connection, but like all things in life, timing is everything. There will be times when a cold email will get you nowhere, and those times will be most of the time.
I haven't had that much experience where I have received cold or coldish emails but I do have one I regret not answering. At the time I didn't have a solution for them, I was working on one and I had them in mind when it came off, but it never did. I'm not sure if I ever followed up with an email to that person, I hope I did. Next time if I got nuthin' I will say "I don't have any opportunities currently but keep connecting with people and if you see me doing anything interesting in the future that you want to get involved with please get in touch".
Although mostly I hope that I'll have lots of entry points that I can direct people to.
I've learned the restraint of holding back from contact until I genuinely feel I have something of value to offer, then if it's still a miss, more fool them. Maybe one day they will think, "damn, should have followed that email up". I hold no grudge, it's a busy world with lots of @s.
Sarah Moran shared a nice approach on twitter "I prioritise high school and university students in my inbox. They're the next emerging market." I think that's nice. I'm happy if my email was overlooked because of time and a student was given direction. PS I haven't emailed Sarah though I have pinged her about taking #SheHacks and other hackathons to more rural areas which would be so cool - so if you are into that too @ me!
My point is (and yes, this is a post about me and getting to know me, in my defence it is my blog), that this week I had a hit and that was nice. And someone made an acrostic poem about it and it was the sweetest thing ever. So I want to share.
My email was to a social enterprise. If you are a social enterprise and you want to do amazing community digital things and you connect with these reasons, we should talk! I gave six reasons to this person on why we should talk:
- I work in tech using open source software – open source has shaped my community building values – I believe in collaboration and sharing resources and ideas for collective impact
- I build in Drupal, it’s the most flexible and extensible of the open source platforms. I build in it because designing products that can be scaled for use by non tech people, that can also be replicated and networked for shared development is a passion. My next step is building those products – I want to find an organisation to do that with
- My people skills are fantastic, I love working with and learning from people. I can bring people together remotely to work on shared projects, and I can give you examples
- I’m fantastic at managing and working within remote teams – important for a national and international team
- I’m excellent at using and assessing tech tools – the right tools at the right time is so important
- Equality in and access to technology is crucial to me, technology can and should be created in ways that open doors and windows for non tech people to engage and use it at all levels – I believe our communities depend on it
We are talking next week so yay!
I also shared this list with someone that I work on GovHack with. Clearly they love acronyms and that's why they work with Governments... They turned these into a DRUPAL acrostic and sent it back to me. I just thought it was the loveliest thing, and also I just love that insight into how a person thinks. I don't have a strong creative side and I love people that do, I can't even do cryptic crossword puzzles or play Boggle (ok I've never actually played it but I can't do the word games well). So I have to share this, because it's lovely and everytime I think about it I am so, so chuffed, and I love that through the internet we can connect with amazing people that enrich our lives.
"As I was reading them, I saw something in the letters:
Dependency - I believe communities depend on technology and that access should be equal.
Remote - I am fantastic at managing remote teams.
Universal - I believe in the universal, in open source, collaboration and availability for everyone.
People - My people skills are fantastic.
Assessing - I am excellent at assessing the right tech tools.
Love - I love Drupal. It's my passion as it can be scaled to involve non-tech people. It defines me....
D.R.U.P.A.L = Dependency. Remote. Universal. People. Assessing. Love = Lyndsey Jackson
Isn't that just the best? Not every connection we reach out to will be a hit, but it's important to keep reaching out to make them, because the ones that connect are the only ones that matter. And if you manage to make connections, even with people you have never physically met, and they see you as you want others to see you... that's just the coolest thing. If you are on the ledge and you think you should jump, just do it, it's way cooler than stepping away.