For those of you who haven't noticed; the internet is fast becoming a very powerful tool for maintenance and reliability professionals to establish professional networks that span the entire globe. Since about the late 80's I think we all got the picture that job security was a thing of the past. At least I did anyway. And since that time we are seeing the relationship between people and work change dramatically. One change is in the area of loyalty. "Old" loyalty was between the worker (you / me) and the company. This vertical, or suck up, type of loyalty was pretty focussed around the theme that if you did a great job, for many years, then your company would look after you. Today, career last longer than most of the companies people work for. I started my career working for Robe River, a large mining company. At the end of the last century they were bought by Rio Tinto. I also worked for them for a while. They are real giants in the resource game, second largest in the world at the time. One of the titans that would last forever... well.. maybe not. As I write Rio Tinto is trying to fend off an aggressive buy out by competitor BHP Billiton. And so it goes... Yahoo was a great name.. once, Microsoft just decided not to buy them. I have seen many public sector workers suddenly shift to the private sector, and many private sector workers suddenly shift to a contracting company. I'm sure (positive) your experiences have been identical, and if not then very similar. Companies don't last forever, careers last a lot longer. What we (I at least) see replacing this vertical loyalty is a form of horizontal loyalty. That is - loyalty to ones team mates, to a project, to a product, a managerial discipline or to a specialty area. This is the stuff that professional networks are made of. Large groups of professionals interacting through out the world to mutual benefit. No sales lines, no pitches, no "articles" that are strangely slanted to support the consultant who wrote it, and no one trying to push anything down your throat. The leading one of these, IMHO, is LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn has around (I think) 20 million members globally. Something like (not sure here) 30 CEO's join LinkedIn every hour (or day, I can't recall exactly). I personally have used this site to conduct professional interviews, to offer my services when asked, to find resources for projects I know of or am working on, and to perform research among my peers. I recommend it to you strongly, I think every maintenance professional should have access to his peer groups. We have formed a group here called the Reliability Hub, its free, non-commercial, and set up purely for you - the maintenance professionals in the field. I hope it is useful for you. If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing in a reader, or you can also receive The Art of Change by Email.