On the doorknob of my office hanging from various colored, vendor-sponsored lanyards, are about fifteen different badges. Each badge represents a conference or exhibition or UNconference that I have attended over the last twenty months. I am not sure why I save them... Actually, that isn't true, I know exactly why I save them. Sometimes they feel like medals or symbols of honor, honor I have gained from conversing, learning, and stirring it up with others from our industry. Business cards are stuffed in the plastic jackets, ribbons stick awkwardly on some, others are non-descript, no color, only vague memories attached.
And yet conferences hold a special place in my heart. It is the firm handshake from across the New Front Porch that is virtual networking, social media. I have met some great people at conferences; I've walked away from controversial ideas. I have guffawed at stupidity and awed at incredible new technology or ideas. And here we now are, in the middle of the full bloom of conference season. Huh...
I look around this site, RecruitingBlogs.com and I see the free opportunity to gain knowledge, build relationships, as well as, hash out old ideas. It is the finest part of community, online networking - a virtual conference, of sorts. But we gather daily, and on our own time, at our own pace. The amount of user generated content is simply amazing. Who knew this industry had so many writers and/or entrepreneurs?
I have a RecruitingBlogs Badge of Honor, too. But it doesn't hang on my doorknob; it isn't swiped or scanned. It doesn't assure me two drinks at a sponsored reception or get me into a drawing for an iPad. Nobody checks me at a door or coerces me with a table full of junk disguised as swag. My badge here promises me increase.
Increase in business relationships, vendor awareness, new technology exposure, and countless discussions, blogs, and analyses. The biggest and best increase though has been in the department of friends. Smart friends, friends from whom I can learn, friends who share thoughts and dreams -schemes, plots, and plans. Or good old fireside chats and an occasional border detention. And I wouldn't trade any of it. Not one moment. I am happy to give back when I take so much.
When I first started recruiting with an executive search firm, my company consistently said, "We consider ourselves an extension arm of the HR department." Well, RecruitingBlogs is an extension arm of my family. And I'm proud to wear my badge.