Turkey and stuffing and corn and taters and pumpkin pie and…mmm. I think my ass just grew two sizes thinking about it.

And I’m ok with that.

This week, everyone’s posting on their blogs about ways in which their thankful. Top the list for many people are friends and family members. Other things common on “thankful for” lists include things like having a job or clients, food, and shelter. I think all of these these we list are pretty telling. It boils down to one idea:

We all want a support system.

When job-hunting or changing careers, we need this support system the most. We need people helping us find the right path and reassure us that we’re going in the right direction. In turn, we’re part of the support systems for these people - whether its with their career or otherwise, we offer a helping hand, a should to cry on, and other assorted body parts as the situation deems necessary.

But I want to rethink the way we use support systems. In the past few months, I’ve seen incredible support from my personal network of friends and family members, but the “I support you and you support me” idea isn’t the best it can be. The problem is that it causes us to “rank” people or situations because…well…frankly, we can’t be there all the time. You can’t be everything for everyone, nor can everyone be everything to you. It always stinks when you simply don’t have the time or energy to help a friend like you wish you could, but sometimes there are more pressing matters in our own lives or in the lives of other friends. It can lead to hurt feelings pretty easily.

The picture above is from my last birthday. Contrary to your first impression, my birthday is actually in February, not around Thanksgiving. My friends just know my love of awesome food, so they made a huge Thanksgiving-like dinner for me. It was awesome. That wasn’t my favorite picture, though. This one was:

Those are my friends Randy and Brook. We we making the stuffing together. Well, to be fair, Randy made most of the stuffing because he’s an awesome cook, but we all pitched in. And it wasn’t like Randy was making the stuffing with Brook and me supporting him. Or Brook/me making the stuffing and Randy supporting us. It was a team project. We did it together.

Having a support system is awesome, but collaboration is even awesome-r. Think about your network today. Is there collaboration potential somewhere? Teaming up with people from your network can be extremely powerful. Maybe you know someone who’d be interested in going into business together. Maybe you know someone who’d be interested in doing a product collaboration. Think outside the box. What is stopping you from achieving your career goals? If you’re afraid to move to the city for a job you want, maybe you know someone who feels similarly and you could move together. If you’re worried about you financial situation if you quit your job to pursue your passions, maybe someone in your network is looking for a roommate, and you could live together to keep costs low. Don’t just support! Collaborate!

Before I close out this post, I did want to say a big, huge, gigantic, gargantuan THANK YOU for being here. I’m thank that you shared a few minutes of time with me today and hope to continue seeing you here at After Graduation in the future.

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