Something happened to me this week that made me start thinking about human connections and our careers. Social media is great for connecting, networking, educating, and marketing, but wow, nothing beats the human connection.
Let me tell you some back story. I’ve been in the book business since 1996 and of course, have met many people. Coworkers, bosses, customers and vendors, just to name a few. It’s the vendor aspect that I want to talk about. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of people in my position don’t always respect vendors. They are sales people, to be sure, but that’s their job. I’ve always treated them with respect, not as a nuisance. Truth be told, most are a delightful way to break up the day. Not to mention, learning about new products is always interesting. That respect tends to pay off in all kinds of ways.
So, a few days ago I got a phone call from a former co-worker who told me that a vendor we both knew left me some books at my old office. My feelings: surprise, curiosity and warmth. I’ve known the vendor, (we’ll call him Tim) for a long time, probably since 2004. He represents all types of genres in books. Tim is quiet, smart and very knowledgeable about books. We’ve always had a good working relationship. Him selling, me buying for the business. He knew what would sell at our store, and between the two of us, we had a relationship of give and take. One of the best things about Tim was that he remembered the subjects that I personally liked. Once in a while, he brought me free samples and galleys. (book talk for a preview of a book that has not been edited, nor has the right cover, and is not for sale).
Tim didn’t know that I had left my last job, yet still, he asked my coworker to contact me. To his honorable credit, my coworker did! I stopped by the old office. Imagine my surprise that Tim had remembered that I love Dr. Who, and left me a book set of Dr. Who books! To say I was excited and touched is an understatement. Now, I’m not saying make a human connection to get free stuff. I’m saying, make those connections to make work more interesting. Make those connections to help each other succeed. Make those connections because maybe you will need a job someday and that vendor can vouch for you. You can bet, in my current job as a book buyer, that I’ll be thinking of Tim now and wondering how I can sell the products that he represents.