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Professional Development – In Real Life (IRL) – Are You Doing It?

I have had a flurry of In Real Life (IRL) professional activities, and that flurry prompted me to write this blog post.

Are you doing IRL?

I know I am guilty of plugging into my computer early in the morning, working through lunch, and still checking mobile devices throughout the day, evenings and weekends. We are tethered to our work and online distractions. I love the efficiency of having easy access to work and ability to communicate from anywhere…anytime. However, is it possible that we can burnout or actually stunt our professional development by not making new friends or deepening the relationships we already have?

The attached video highlights three of my recent IRL activities.

  • Met an online friend face-to-face over coffee. David Dye is a 12 Most Writer who also does Leadership Training as well as passionately serve as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado Uplift.
  • Hosted a TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute) Colorado Chapter meeting at Dave & Busters. Besides a fun venue with great food, this meeting presented opportunities to network with other Business Intelligence professionals and hear some sponsor highlights. The next meeting will cover Predictive Analytics, and we are kicking around ideas for panel discussions on data modeling tools and presentations on how to handle unstructured data. Mantis Pulse Analytics does an excellent job handling unstructured data in social media, news and review sites – and then performing sentiment analysis, so businesses can make better decisions about their brands.
  • Had a Google+ Hangout with Jodi Okun. Jodi is also a 12 Most writer, and she hosts an invaluable #CollegeCash chat every Thursday night at 10pm EST/7pm PST. Sure, I didn’t step away from the computer to have a Google+ Hangout. However, I did meet someone “face-to-face” and experienced Jodi’s natural exuberance and positive tone that could not be fully conveyed in a normal chat session.

I would enjoy hearing your ideas for “stepping away from the computer” as well as the professional networks that benefit you. Perhaps other readers are not familiar with those networks, and they could find ways to get plugged into their local organizations. Let’s dish out some alley-oop assists to our readers, shall we?

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. WOW! Nice weather, Brian.

    We both must have been going through some of the same things because I made a conscious decision to step back from the computer and do other things. In fact, I am limiting the amount of time I spend on the computer and what I do when using it.

    What I am doing is shifting a chunk of that time to more phone calls or face-to-face meetings with people.

    Have to confess I have not done a Google hangout because I rarely spend any time on Google+> For whatever reason that platform does not appeal to me. Of course, if is probably because I spend so little time there that I don’t know what I am doing or feel comfortable with it.

    Brian, somehow I just know you will enjoy a fabulous Father’s Day tomorrow as your Vickery Girls absolutely spoil you. Enjoy. Until next time, aloha. Janet.

    • Would still be great to do a Google+ Hangout someday, Janet. Until Krista and I find our way to Hawaii, that might be the best chance for us to get to “see” each other.

      I definitely favor online communications and face-to-face meetings. I’m not a big fan of phone calls, and that is a shame – unless you meet someone at a networking event, you may not get that face-to-face meeting without the introductory phone call.

      I enjoyed my Father’s Day. It was a little different. Normally, we are all together for the entire day. In this case, I did breakfast and lunch w/Kris, and we hit the tennis ball once it got below 90 degrees! Lex cooked a great meal, and Savannah made it back from an all-day concert in time to catch a movie together. I love my life ;)

  2. Great article, Brian! Friends are friends. Connections are connections. Whether you met on Twitter or in college, the person you meet is a real, genuine, verifiable human being. Meeting in person solidifies this fact. IRL is awesome!

    • I agree, Doug. In fact, I have a few more IRL activities going on today. That might spawn another vlog! The best part is turning a follower -> into a valued connection -> into a trusted friend. I’ve experienced that firsthand this year, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

  3. Hi Brian,
    Recently I’ve been playing with some ideas about how to make people’s virtual connections (LinkedIn etc) more tangible (i.e. IRL). It was in the process of searching for a solution that I found your blog. Do you think the lack of IRL in most people’s lives is due to the fact that IRL are intrinsically time consuming (so. hard to fit into a busy schedule) or because networks like LinkedIn doesn’t have a tool for organizing IRL for the users?
    Thank you,

    • Thanks for stopping by, Amy. IRL is definitely more time consuming. IRL also requires being comfortable face-to-face or in a networking crowd. That doesn’t play well with some introverts, so they may try to rely solely on online communications. Of course, travel budget can also be a factor.

      I think if you monitor LinkedIn groups, related to your industry, you can keep track of IRL opportunities – hopefully local to your area.


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