Network in a bahhh-tull…

The most common piece of advice I’ve heard during my job search is that I must network.  Apparently, according to the advisers, over 75% of jobs are obtained through a connection. That’s a pretty big number.  I’m not sure how they arrived at it, but if I’m a betting man, it looks like I’m better off with my networking shoes on. And no, it’s not enough for me to just mobilize my existing network.   I must step outside of my happy place and *gasp*, meet new people. Truth be told (My dad hates this saying.  He always fires back, “no, lie to me,” and he’s right in his sarcasm.  It’s akin to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld poking fun at everyone who uses “that being said.” You’ve already said what you had to, so why announce that you said it? But I digress…), I’ve never really had any difficulty meeting new people, but when there’s an ulterior motive, it makes me feel kinda insincere, even though I’m not. But I’m here to tell you NETWORKING CAN BE FUN.  And I’m not coming from that obnoxious place of trying to pacify you by telling you whatever is that paralyzes you in fear can be “fun.” Nor am I trying out corny titles for a new “Dummies”-type guidebook.

That being said, I give you… Meetup.com.

I joined Meetup.com about a year ago as part of a group of parents using it to congregate online in support of our children’s daycare.   While it served that purpose, I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of its power.  Until recently.  And I’ve been preaching its benefits to anyone who will listen.

The beauty of Meetup is that it removes any awkwardness in networking.  Follow me.

First, you set up your profile.  Here’s where it gets difficult.  You need to select attributes and topics you’re interested in.  Based on what you’ve selected, you receive emails advising you on meetings, gatherings, huddles, pow-wows, whatever you want to call it. And then, when you attend these meetings, meeting new folks is easy because the introduction and subsequent conversations are built-in.  Everyone who signed up for that meeting shares that common interest with you. And after your event, you trade personal information and voilá you’ve got yourself new contacts for your network.  Simple as that.   And, if you’re brave enough, you could even initiate a meetup.  Calm down, you don’t have to.

My first experience with meetup was “The Art of the Pitch.”  I wanted to hone my elevator pitch and thought it might be a great place to start.  It didn’t really help me on that front because the session was more about attendees pitching their products and the rest of us critiquing.  I had a good time participating, and those who pitched appreciated what I had to say.  Turns out I walked away with three new contacts, two of whom pitched.  And I volunteered my time to help them with their projects.  And since then, I’ve had meetings with each of them, and well, it’s an opportunity, and you never know.  What I do know is I’m being open about all opportunities.  It’s fun and exciting and it can turn into nothing, but it also could turn into something.  Something very big.  World, it’s on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.

I started a post last week (not this one) and have the rest of it laid out in my head just waiting for my fingers to start tap, tap, tapping away on the keyboard.  Apparently it’s common for bloggers, myself included, to start writing and leave it go, potentially forever, as lost film on a cutting room floor.

(Wavy lines; fade to monochrome to indicate dream sequence.)

I’m gone. (I’ll leave out the details of my imaginary demise.) WordPress decides, as a posthumous homage to my mad blogging skillz, they’re going to open my account to the public and see what gifts I’ve left behind.  To everyone’s thrill, there are uncut, unedited lost blogs.  We’ll call them…  The Lost Blogs.  My legions of fans will feel a fleeting sense of comfort at the prospect of being able to experience me one more time.  And they’ll take the time to sip my words knowing it’ll be the last drink of me they ever have.  They’ll say what I wrote was brilliant.  The hard core fans will maintain anyone who doesn’t think it was my best effort isn’t even a fan at all.  All this hullabaloo around something I didn’t even particularly care for.

(Wavy lines; back to “lotsa chrome.”)

I’ve been dying to finish that post but I couldn’t justify doing so not because I didn’t like it (I’d just press delete in that case), but because I had a different priority.

I was fortunate to get a heads up about a Mayor Bloomberg program to boost the NYC economy called JumpstartNYC.   Jumpstart was designed to “help unemployed, mid-career professionals looking for a career change (ME) apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities in opportunities at small, entrepreneurial companies.”  The next session, April 16 – 27, also focuses on New York City’s “budding green sector” with an emphasis on sustainability, something ME is interested in.  Since I got the email from my friend, who, in my opinion,  appropriately stated this program would be PERFECT for ME, I’ve been totally fired up about it.  I think I’ve already told the world, at least once you’ve read this I will have, and I can’t wait.   No, I haven’t been accepted into the program yet.  I went to the information session on January 27th and, aside from finding out details about the program which made it more enticing, I found out that the essay questions had been made available online.

Cue the theme from Jaws…

Yes, the application process includes essays.  I haven’t written essays for an application since the masterpiece I penned for admission to SUNY Binghamton over 20 years ago.  I’m tempted to say I’m being dramatic for effect, but I just can’t remember any more recent essays. But I wasn’t troubled at all.  Why should I be? I’ve been writing this blog and getting some pretty good reviews (I’m assuming some people don’t like my writing but I’m just not getting that feedback, which is perfectly fine with me).  I can do this.

But this, as I experienced, is COMPLETELY different than the creative writing I’ve been doing.  I didn’t particularly enjoy writing these essays.  I didn’t really care to be told what to write about.  But I did it.  And I’m proud of them.  And they’re getting a once over from an alumnus of the program before submission.  Wish me luck.  I really want in on this program and think it will do me a world of good.  I know when I do get accepted, this will be a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to get one step closer to where I want to be.  World… it’s on!