A Narcissistic (Mostly) Mistake
After having paid $30/month for well over a year for LinkedIn Premium, I’m realizing that it was mostly a mistake. Unless you’re in active job-hunting mode (like a full-on Peter Gibbons loathing kind of active), there’s very few reasons to pay into this service. Sure, you get a fancy (narcissistic?) little badge and can send a ton of InMail messages, but there’s far from $360/year worth of value to be found for the professionally-satisfied. Not to mention, if someone restricts InMail messages, that’s likely a good sign that you shouldn’t contact them anyway (please mind people’s decisions to remain in the digital shadows; it’s actually a very pleasant place to spend some time).
M.O. Acknowledgment & Staying True to You
Unfortunately, I have an obsession with understanding how all social platforms work, so taking advantage of trial offers or paying into premium subscriptions (and then cancelling soon after) is, and will forever be, part of my M.O.. In the case of LinkedIn, I simply lost track of what was important and placed a disproportionate (and recurring) amount of value on an over-inflated sense of "professional" (or perhaps a perception of it). And make no mistake, when you pay into Premium, you receive a near constant flow of robotic recruiter emails and notifications about who's peering into your professional reality. This simply didn't represent the professional I wanted to be or representative of the one I've grown to respect and value.
Put Your $$ Where Your Mouth Is
Having made this realization, I wanted to do more than just put $30 a month back into my pocket. I wanted to make a statement about what and who I truly value professionally. I don’t value corporations that monetize personal data. I don’t value superficial badges and status symbols. I don’t value recruitment funnels void of human interaction. I value people and organizations doing valuable, selfless, and creative work to the benefit of the masses and/or the less fortunate. People like Sam Harris (to whom I’m now donating $10/month), Bryan Alexander (to whom I’m now donating $5/month), organizations like The GrowHaus/Tambien (to which I’m donating $10/month), The Skeptics Guide (to which I’m donating $5/month), and publications like Hybrid Pedagogy (to which I’m now donating $5/month), Nautil.us magazine (to which I’ve been subscribed since 2015), and The Colorado Sun (to which I plan to subscribe).
The Power of Priority Alignment
Making small financial contributions to the creatives/creators that most authentically represent ourselves and our values has intrinsic and extrinsic merit that a LinkedIn Premium subscription doesn’t come close to providing. I’m frustrated that it took as long as it did for me to pull the plug and realign my priorities, but it’s a step I’m happy to have finally taken. My hope is that this short post can find it’s way into the lives of others and allow/force you to realign your priorities with that which is most meaningful to you.
It can be as simple as ordering one less latte each month and contributing to your favorite artist, one less whiskey to help support a local animal shelter, or one canceled app subscription that allows you to support the creative individuals and organizations you know to matter most. Our priorities are meant to evolve and shift over time, but as they do, it’s our responsibility to reexamine them often enough to ensure they’re still optimally aligned with the latest versions of ourselves. A reinvention of yourself is a beautiful thing, but only insofar as you pursue a reflective selfless side to match.