with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I’m the last person you’re ever going to hear complaining about life going digital. I live my business life and a substantial portion of my personal life online; on the whole, I think the Internet has greatly enriched our lives in countless ways.
And as someone who once chafed at hand-writing thank you notes to various relatives after every birthday, I may even roll my eyes at folks who insist that email is insufficient compared to good, old-fashioned snail mail. (Of course, I’m a sucker for a double-standard. I adore receiving a hand-written note from someone, particularly if it’s a note of thanks. But email is overwhelmingly my communication channel of choice.)
My point (I swear, I have one) is that what’s acceptable socially does change somewhat, over time. Formality requirements decrease in various realms as time passes; that’s normal. What would’ve required a hand-written note a hundred years ago can today be covered with an email, perhaps.
But: There’s a difference between “less formality” and “no manners.”
Decreased formality is something I’m okay with, in general. Complete lack of manners is not.
It’s a slippery slope, I understand. Some people feel that proper manners don’t change; what merited a hand-written note “back in the day” still merits one today, if you’re to be “proper,” according to some. Miss Manners and Emily Post are still in the business of dictating what is and isn’t acceptable, but opinions vary. One person’s “required etiquette” is another one’s “outdated custom.” I get that.
So what does this have to do with freelancing?
My latest pet peeve: LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know. Now, personally, I believe LinkedIn is a place for 1) business connections, particularly ones 2) between people who already know each other. To me, LinkedIn isn’t the casual mingling of acquaintances you sometimes see on Facebook, it’s a place for business interactions. I understand that not everyone feels that way—some people will happily connect with anyone at all on LinkedIn—but that’s how I treat it. No problem, because if I get a connection request from someone I don’t know all that well, I just don’t accept it, right?
Right, but the requests from names I don’t recognize which arrive without anything other than the standard “I’d like to add you to my network” message irrationally enrage me. How about, “Hey Mir, we met at such-and-such” or “Hi Mir, we both know so-and-so” or even “I know we don’t know each other, but I’d like to talk to you about our work sometime”? Do people really think a form email sent to someone they don’t know is going to yield a meaningful connection?
Or maybe I’m the only curmudgeon who thinks that’s rude. Am I overreacting, or is this a case of the “online mindset” being taken too far?
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