Karen McGrane:

Not everything in our professional lives is a transaction, scrutinized and evaluated against how much it costs us, how much someone should pay. Not every teaching relationship must be formalized—a mentoring opportunity, a coach, an internship. Not every investment of time has to be “worth it.” Sometimes you just have a brief conversation with someone because—why not? You never know what will come of it.

A thousand times, yes.

In 2011, when I was on the cusp of quitting my job to take my website full time, there were a few smart folks who I knew from the internet that were willing to take time out of their day to give me some advice and answer my questions and calm my fears. Even now, 3 years later, I often re-visit the advice and perspective they gave me back in 2011.

And in the 3+ years since I began writing here full-time, I now often get requests from others for input and advice on things. I wish I could be more available than I am, and I know there are things I can do to get better at it. Such as scheduling an “open” work time each week (even if it’s just 30 minutes), and that time slot is reserved for giving back to others by answering emails, doing interviews, etc.

Pay it forward