One of the things that career advisors harped on all through undergrad and grad school was the benefit of networking. Get out there! Talk to people! Tell them about what you do and what you want to do! See who knows someone who knows someone who might be able to help you! Go to cocktail hours and schmooze and be charming in hopes you will get something in return! It’s great!
Except it’s not great. I hate networking. Sure, I don’t mind it in a casual way. “Oh, hey, you work where? I would love to work there. Would you mind telling me more about it?” But the idea of going to a networking event, where I have to get dressed up and walk around, trying to impress bigwigs in order to get them to give me something (a job, assistance in finding a job, a good recommendation to a hiring authority) drive me nuts.
I think my problem is that it feels so very fake. It feels like being in a room full of brown nosers. I have one co-worker who is a huge brown noser and it drive me crazy. Being in a room full of them is painful. I think it’s ridiculous.
That said, this week, one of the things on my calendar is an alumni reception for my law school. I’m sure it’s one of those “Hey, remember how great those three years were? Good. Give us money” sort of events, and I’m going primarily to see who else I know from school who now lives in DC, but in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking about networking opportunities. While I’ve given up on getting out of my current job anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that I’m not always looking. So who knows who I will meet at this event?
But I don’t plan to be walking around looking for job opportunities. I like meeting people, so that’s what I will be doing. And if hey, someone knows someone who can help me out, great. And if I get no job help but meet some interesting people (and have a few free drinks), that sounds good too.
Networking is important. I’m not recommending that you don’t do it. In fact, you should. But if you are a big schmoozer, maybe try to tone it down. Please?