Every time we post on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, there is the undertow of self-consciousness. We, you got it, don't feel safe opening up. So, we hold back. We spin. We default to brittle wit.
Or, when click on our email there is a flash of panic when we spot the incoming transmittal from you know who.
And, thanks to digital technology, we can escape that riptide and not be dragged out into the ocean of self-defeating behavior, substance abuse, and even suicide. We Unfriend, Remove, or Block.
The concept of safe people first floated into mainstream consciousness with the book by that title from Henry Cloud and John Townsend. More recently, in "Scary Close," Donald Miller gave us total permission to steer clear of all that.
Sure, Miller notes, we can have compassion for that twisted human being.
For instance, he explains that those he knows in law enforcement have empathy for criminals. They recognize: Hurt people hurt. The serial killer or Ponzi scammer probably had been abused or neglected during childhood and beyond. Tragic.
But society must protect itself from them. And, the same goes for us. We owe it to ourselves to do our enforcing of personal and professional boundaries.
My two business niches - communications and coaching - began to catch fire after I purged my networks - online and in-person - of human beings I simply didn't feel safe with.
I kicked that off in May 2014. I unfriended acquaintances from the Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania Class of 1967. Not easy. For me, it took 47 years from when I left the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey to join the middle class to do that. Post-purge, success came easily. I no longer operated from a platform of fear.
In the old days when professional life was a monolith, there had been a risk attached to the behavior known as "burning bridges." Mothers, mentors, and even psychotherapists urged us to err on the side of caution.
Currently, the world of commerce, driven by technology, is in the state of ongoing disruption. That toxic client we so feared?
The probability is, in this period in time when high Emotional Intelligence wins, keeps, and lands the new business, the monster likely has been sidelined. Professionals are unwilling to put up with that extra stress.
There are exceptions, though. The legal sector, for example, remains hardened in the past. Eventually, that could bring it down. But right now, risk taking in relationships usually just brings down those with little power such as associates in BigLaw.
The outlier on all that has been digital-only legal news outlet Abovethelaw.com. Its signature is taking on the establishment in the legal sector, including law schools, Inside the Beltway power players, and myths about career paths.
Abovethelaw.com lawyer-journalist Joe Patrice has created a cottage industry in analyzing the moves made by law firm Jones Day. Some seem cartoonish. Patrice's photo is on the left. His next job could be a top leadership one with liberal media.
Also, there are the games politicos and lobbyists play. Those are providing plenty of headlines for members of the media. Usually, we can avoid that force field. One day, most of us have that ah-ha moment: All that has nothing to do with me. And, we impose our own criteria for whom we will deal with.
For those between jobs or careers, the timing is ideal to do due diligence on networks. A sorting mechanism to apply is: How did I feel connecting or failing to connect with that professional? Here, free to click open, is my new book on diagnosing and exiting comfort zones Download Over50OutsmartingYourComfortZone
Contact Jane Genova email@example.com.