Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kissing Ass Isn't a Career Move, It's a Lifestyle

Please, take the "Work" out of networking:

Cliff Mason argues that while networks matter, networking doesn't. Amen. People with great networks aren't people who maniacally collect business cards while pumping every random acquaintance for possible signs of a career advantage. They're people who like other people, who talk to other people because they are interested in them, who seek to help other people because, well, that's just what a decent chap ought to do.
Let's ignore the issue of whether Megan actually knows what "chap" means and focus on the bullshit. Megan thinks not being a blatant careerist, which is to say a bad one, means she's not really one at all, she's just a people person. A fake polite people person who passive aggressively expects the people around her to kowtow to her definition of polite, most likely, but I'm just being a grump.
Other peoples' lives are interesting, even if they themselves aren't fabulous raconteurs. A good networker is someone who starts out on the presumption that you must be interesting, and looks for the things that make you so. Along the way, they naturally find out quite a bit about you--and because they genuinely care about other people, they will remember three months hence that you said you wanted to move into new media when their friend the new media consultant starts hiring. Maybe five years down the road, you'll help them out. And you will genuinely be glad to, because they were glad to help you.
Yep. I'm always finding jobs for my friends, and vice versa. It's just about all we do together. Oh, wait, she didn't say friends, did she? She's not talking about actual interaction between human beings, but careerists networking amongst themselves. There's no concept of knowing someone simply because you enjoy their company here, because where's the money in that?
The problem with most fake polite people is they don't really give a shit about the people around them, they just want to feel good about themselves via their own reflected glow. After all, it's Megan's network, not her community. But I'm still just being a grump.
In other words, it can't be faked, it can't be hurried, and you can't strip out the part where YOU are a person worth knowing. All the business-card warriors would do themselves a lot more good in the long run by focusing on getting good at their jobs, and helping other people when they can just because it's nice to be able to help.
In other words, you can't let the mask slip in public for even a moment, lest the people around you realize they're mostly being used. And remember, a good network is just testament to the fact that MEGAN is worth knowing. Isn't that what's really important?


Steve and Evie Levy said...

Can we finally put "warriors" out of its misery? I blame Mel Gibson and George Miller, but not really.

Nah, I blame the self-aggrandizing idiots (and those who write the magazines and ads that they read) for pumping pathetic little ampules of macho into the activity of sitting on a plane and flying to Atlanta to make a sale.

"business-card warriors" my writer-warrior ass. We call them "hustlers," and they're lucky to be so flattered.

M. Bouffant said...

I don't even like to call the people who kill for us "warriors;" it's too noble, & turns those who serve into some sort of worshiped, never-to-be-questioned elite.