Staying Connected When You’re Offline

Last week I went on my first vacation since December. Woof. Definitely well needed and in my mind, well deserved.

I have a plan to visit as many, if not every, baseball stadium in the county. With that in mind, I headed off to Chicago with my Dad in tow. There were plenty of other items on the agenda (eating deep dish pizza, visiting the Bean, heading to the top of Sears Tower) but our trip was planned around Wrigley Field and the Cubs’ home schedule.

Thursday morning I caught up on emails and social media before heading out for a day of sightseeing and tourist attractions. I saw that a key influencer in the communications industry was in Chi-Town for a business meeting and a speech. He asked if anyone was interested in grabbing coffee before he headed back to LGA.

Most of the time, I’m convinced my parents have absolutely no idea what I do for a living. My dad asked if I was posting pictures to Twitter of our carrot cake Wednesday night. He got an A for effort. The only reason he cares about Facebook is because they are now a publicly traded company and he owns shares of Zuck’s stock.

So when I asked if he was cool with me meeting an older guy from the interwebs for some coffee, I was expecting a pretty chilly reaction. Much to my surprise, he asked if this was important to me. It was. Off we went.

I’d like to thank Peter Shankman for sitting down to talk PR (and life) with me. There is nothing comparable to meeting someone you respect and admire for their success, especially when your passions align. I even had the chance to pitch a client’s new product. Now I get to leave the Windy City with great Instagram photos, a stomach full of Chicago hot dogs, and a new connection under my belt to bring back to my office. I’d consider that a successful four-day trip.

What did I learn about this when situation? Maybe it’s not that important to be entirely offline. Disconnecting is always healthy and a way to stay refreshed, but you never want to be so isolated that you miss opportunities that can happen outside of a cubicle. Another important lesson for professionals my age: there are people out there willing to chat with a newly minted graduate. Grow a pair. Put down the cell phone. Nothing beats face to face networking.

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