November 21, 2007

Network Thanks

Earlier I had posted on the importance of considering a network as a financial asset (and much more). Also, I am celebrating this holiday because it would be one of the first holidays in which I am not looking forward to just because it is a reprieve from work. In years past, Thanksgiving was only good for a four-day weekend, that big meal that I didn't have to cook, as well as catching up on sleep because I was too tired to do anything else. This year is different because I was able to play a bigger role in planning Thanksgiving with my grandparents, actually have the energy and time to volunteer at a soup kitchen, and spend quality time with other friends and family that also have time off. Spending time with them is especially important and in retirement, I make sure to take advantage of strengthening my existing networks during the holidays because they do not have as much free time as I do.

However, in the spirit of the holiday, I would like to write a thank you post about my network and how they have contributed financially. Names will be replaced with spunky aliases for anonymity and for jokes.

The 'rents - I have been financially independent for many years now but having a child is definitely a financial burden for them and a benefit for me. MaineToday has calculated this to be around 250k$ and does not count all the other things they did for me that required time and effort. Considering my current situation, having a family is not something visible in my horizon. The fact that they were willing to sacrifice a good portion of their assets (unless I was an accident - they never told me) makes me very thankful.

Googlers - I'm sure many of you know the perks that are involved with working at the Google. Free food, free drinks, and they have these great take-out boxes where I can take home food. I have a strong network there (meaning I practically abuse their generosity) so lets say they contributed to half a year's worth of food. Not to mention, one of them is my roommate so I get a number of free perks free as well. I won't identify these perks specifically, but lets just say Google doesn't like their employees paying for anything...even bills. So let's say 2000$.

Dance Guys - If I were to use a tech industry metaphor, these guys would be the Professional Services of software industry solutions. They do not provide anything specific but they provide everything else at a drop of a dime. They have picked me up from airports, driven me to interviews, let me crash on their couch when Ex-Mrs-Parrish was mad at Soup Parrish. Basically, I can go to them whenever I want because of how strong my network is with them. So ballpark estimate - on-call chauffeurs and manual labor would cost 10/hr, 20 hours/wk, and we'll say over the last year - 10k$.

The Biggest A's Fan - This guy has guided me since our days at UC Somewhere. While I was being a scrappy fraternity boy, he was studying in the basement of the Engineering library. While he was making professional connections, I was making social connections (with females). While he was at T.A.'s office hours, I was sleeping in and recovering from the night before. (I'm actually exaggerating - I had a respectable GPA and was a dedicated student...just not compared to this guy.) Since then, he has taught me how to interview, how to write a resume, and guided me professionally towards a career. We even followed the exact same career path job-to-job (until I decided to retire). If I ever decide to grow up (or so some of my critics say), my ability to contribute in a professional environment will be as strong as when I left it thanks to this guy. I can say this guy is worth practically an education (he gave me training in professionalism, tutoring, a professional network, and career advice) - so maybe 20k$ least.

Scruffy, the Bag Lady - What I owe this little lady has been beyond words but I'm still going to try to put a dollar amount on it. She has been basically my finance mentor since the early days when we attended Cougarland Highschool. She has shown me how to sweep (win contests by bulk entries), how to set up my first ecommerce (bookselling through amazon), how to play the stock market, and thats just the tip of the iceberg. I had gone to her for real estate advice which saved me hundreds of thousands if you take a look at the Bay Area housing market now. She has helped me understand my professional worth and I was able to bump up my first salary by 20k$. She helped me get my first internship at Interslice, Inc. which gave me my first useful piece of information on my resume. She is the reason I'm even writing this blog. I even got to be in her wedding. So lets try to add this up - she was my business consultant for ecommerce (3k$), financial adviser (2k$, or ~3% of my net worth, and 5k$ for professional advice), real estate agent and adviser (42k$ for her cut, and 100k$ for money saved), professional worth consultant (20k$). There's probably a lot more that I'm forgetting but add all that up, the Bag Lady has contributed a whopping $172k. I should ask her if it was worth 172k$ for me to walk down the wedding aisle.

There are a lot of other people I'm forgetting but if you add all that up, my network has contributed 204k$. I didn't included my parents in the math because hey....who doesn't get 250k$ from their parents? *high five*....*then feels guilty because taking privileged life for granted*

Now its quite obvious that most of this math is subjective and kind of a (really huge) ballpark estimate. Regardless of this, for me, it puts in perspective the financial worth of a network. Many people take their network for granted and don't seem to realize how valuable this is as well as the importance of contributing resources to a network of people. One of my theories which explains this is that rich people are friends with rich people while poor people are friends with poor people. A rich person doesn't really get much contribution from a network of rich people. They take for granted the free meals, the professional network, and all the other things they had grown up with. On the other hand, a poor person can't expect to receive much contribution from his network - everyone is busy holding down 2 fulltime jobs. They also lack the financial education to pass on and the knowledge to give career advice. However, lucky for me, I am a retired (read: poor) person with rich and knowledgeable friends. Their financial worth to me is a huge part of my assets. On top of what they contribute financially, their intangibles (yes, I do realize that networks are worth more than just money), makes my friends and family...priceless.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

thebaglady said...

ah... don't worry, I won't collect on that $172k I might collect on the $100 you owe me for finding you the internship! You wrote in your IM profile "$100 to anyone that finds me a job". Remember?