The Reward for Helping Someone

When I meet with a person to help them, the truth is that I probably get more out of it than them.

Glen Lipka, 2021

Is this how you feel? or is it just me?

There is a plethora of information hanging out in my head. Experiences, metaphors, advice, information architecture, user interface, people I know; much of which is available either in this blog or by talking with me. Yet still, I have a strong hypothesis that many people don’t ask me for help, possibly in a sense of “asking for too much”. This post is my effort to talk sense into those people.

My Blog

I’ve posted on reasons that I blog. It’s a creative outlet, it sharpens my writing skills, it is a journal for easy access in the future. However, the most important reason is that it has the ability to help people. When someone says they got something out of my blog, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. I feel like I made a small difference in the world.

Not every blog post is helpful, but it what I strive for. I put in the time and effort because when it helps someone, I profit emotionally. Not many people blog anymore, but when I see a designer who does I usually spent time looking at it.

Meeting with me

People often say to me, “I want to respect your time”. I wish they understood how much I enjoy helping them. Why do you think I have a public page where anyone could make a meeting with me? If I want to block out time, I block time in my calendar. My best advice is “Don’t respect my time”. If I need to cancel a meeting, I will.

Don’t forget that it feels GOOD to help you. I get more out of it than you think. It actually feels bad if I go a whole day without helping someone. This is especially true at work. I want to help unblock someone, or inspire them with design, or just be there to help them muddle through a problem.

Introductions

One of my favorite things to do is introduce people who need each other for some reason. I spent time on introduction letters. There is a little bit of a formula. It goes like this:

Jack meet Jane and vice versa.

Jack is [Description] and the problem they may have.

Jane is [Description] and why they might be able to help.

LinkedIn Links for both

Intro Success!

Glen

I am careful about what I describe. I want it to be short and to the point, but also expressive. I reap tremendous joy when those people end up connecting in a positive way. Usually, a long connection isn’t created, but you have to try to get anywhere.

Interview Mentoring

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, most design portfolios are identical. Therefore, I end up talking to people that I realize are not a good fit, usually within a few minutes. What do I do in that case? End the zoom early? No, instead I spend time mentoring them.

The reason I do it is the same as above:

  1. I get something out of it too
  2. They might suggest me to a colleague
  3. Good Karma
  4. It might help them find their perfect job

I usually talk about their website and how they are supposed to be interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. You only get to have one job at a tie, so you should make it count.

You can take any individual and put them in one company and they will succeed grandly. Take that same person and change a few variables (boss, company, location, job description) and they will fail miserably. It’s all in the details. We aren’t winners and losers. We have context. Sorry, I am off track.

My Values and Politics

Sometimes people just need to be listened to or seen for who they are. Sometimes people need a ride to the store or help with errands. Sometimes someone is lost and just need a little guidance.

I am a progressive because I believe that helping others is beneficial to them and to me as well. It’s beneficial to the system. I believe in a social safety net because helping people is good for society as a whole. People at the bottom who are starving don’t buy goods and services. People who are mentally ill and left to fend for themselves do not contribute to civilization. However, people who are helped on their feet – do – contribute and raise the quality of all of our lives. Capitalism works better when money flows to all strata of our people, not hoarded by a small percent.

By helping people, I am being selfish. I want to live in a better world and helping people makes it so. Be selfish…help someone today.


Whatya think?