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How Your Career Is Like Dating


If you want to succeed at business, you need to develop real relationships — not just casual flings.

So suggests recent post by Whitney Johnson at the Harvard Business Review. Johnson, cofounder of investment firm Rose Park Advisors, is appalled at the decline not just of civility in business, but in reciprocal behavior.

Workers stay at jobs for only 18 months (if they don’t get laid off first). Technology and flexible scheduling allow us to work when we want, where we want. It might make us more efficient, Johnson argues, but it’s also contributing to a sense that we can “port people like we do phone numbers.”

The problem with this, of course, is that it doesn’t work. Even if we think in purely selfish terms, failing to ask what we can do for our network, as well as what our network can do for us, means that we essentially have no network. People don’t forget the times you leave them in the lurch.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The answer, according to Johnson, is to focus on real connections:

“As we connect and collaborate, give and take, we are evolving, emerging stronger and more capable. Yes, there is a certain kind of high, albeit fleeting, to a ‘hook-up.’ But as we invest in connecting, and our brain rewards us chemically with a wash of feel-good oxytocin, we’ll be reminded that people are not only a precious commodity, they are a renewable resource.”

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Do you develop real relationships in your career? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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