Professional Realism - I'm Not Who I Was

Tonight I have been noodling around on LinkedIn. It’s the curse of working in our current world, that I must maintain a LinkedIn account. The whole site feels incredibly superficial — a ‘social network’ devoid of true humanity, but full of humblebrag posts and small talk comments in something which amounts to little more than a business-suited circle jerk.

Yet there I must be. Truth be told, for the last few years I’ve mostly used it as an avenue for promoting Hemispheric Views because if there is a podcast that deserves more listeners, it is that.1

So as I was on LinkedIn tonight, removing connections to ancient Groups that I’d not interacted with for years, updating my profile with current URLs, etc. I took a look at my profile picture used on the site.

The photo was nice. It was taken by a professional photographer at a time when I was more intensely involved in “corporate” work. I was wearing a nice tailored suit. I was 20 kilograms lighter than I am now - and 10 years younger. It was the kind of photo that you keep on a site like LinkedIn in some odd attempt to demonstrate a youthful verve that never fades.

Looking at that photo tonight I realised that it was no longer me. That it was a photo of a different Andrew. It was an Andrew who was still trying to climb a ladder, impress those above him, and show capability.

I’m not that Andrew anymore. I’m at a point in my life where I’m interested in doing work that interests me. I don’t want to climb a ladder. I don’t feel a need to try to exude competence.

I am competent. More importantly though, now I’m confident. I know who I am. I’m relaxed and more aware of the need to build human connection ahead of corporate achievement. To that end, I knew that the Andrew in that LinkedIn photo was not the truth. It was the truth, but not anymore.

So I changed my photo. Now I’ve got a mug shot that shows me with a slight smile, my hair longer, stubble on my face, and a few more wrinkles and signs of ageing. This is who I am now. It’s the photo I’m already using on my personal sites, because it’s how I identify with myself.

As for LinkedIn, if you want to do business with me that is fantastic and I’m excited to explore opportunities. If you don’t, that’s fine. I’m walking my own path now.


  1. Please, tell your friends. Let’s boost those listener numbers! ↩︎

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