Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The myth/math of networking

I've mentioned it before: The best jobs never get posted to Monster or Careerbuilder.

If you're in the market for a new gig, it'll find you. That's the power of your professional network. It can be explained using this simple formula:

R x T(I) = QPN

R = Reputation
T(I) = Time spent in an Industry
QPN = Quality of your Professional Network

If you're good, this isn't something you should really need to work at - your professional network just grows through the normal course of your career.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of the new millennium brand of Networking.

You go to a 'Networking' event. You chat with an ass-load of boring people you don't know. And, according to Expert Networkers, VOILA! BAM! POW!

Business comes your way.

Not so much.

And here's why. Let's call it Hedy's Neediness Quotient.

Well maybe not quotient. Theorem? Ack. Hypothesis?

Eh, fuck it, I was never much into science.

Let's call it Hedy's Neediness Something-or-Other That Implies It's Not Quite a Rule Yet But Should Be.


Yeah, that sounds fine. And fuck you, I'm a little rusty, cut me some slack here.
What's the goal of networking? To help your business, right?

You find people who need what you're selling OR you find people you need to hire to help you sell more. Right?

But the more needy you are, the less likely you'll be able to provide something of value to other networkers. Right?

And the less needy you are, the less likely you'll need to attend a networking event.

See the problem? The people who have the most power to be of help at networking events AREN'T THERE.
I've been trying to figure this out for months. Well off and on for months.

Okay, maybe just for a few minutes here and there while I'm on the crapper, but still.
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." - Mark Twain
I'm working on another theory for how this relates to the usefulness of social media. Again, it's all about needs.

99% of what gets Twittered, Facebooked and LinkedIn'd isn't worthwhile to anyone but the social retard who posted it. Myself included.
"I'm an introvert, that's why I don't do networking events."

That was my original reason but it never quite sat well. First of all, I believe that "introvert" is mostly a state of mind - we can choose to be outgoing and sociable if we deem it worthwhile. More on that another time.

Today I've finally (roughly) figured out the real reason why I've always been so negative on networking events: They're simply not worthwhile for people like me.
Please. Tell me if I'm full of shit on this. Or if I'm just full of shit in general. It'd be great to hear from you.
But Hedy, what about the altruistic aspect of networking? What about just putting yourself out there to be of some small help to The Universe?

I can think of other ways to do that - ways that don't involve making small talk with strangers while downing crappy crudites and piss-warm wine.
I am listening to: Dream Big - Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand
I am reading: Zeitoun by David Eggers
And I am: Rusty


Posol'stvo the Medved said...

Regarding the "introvert" thing -- it is rare that I find myself in a professional social situation where I am interested in breaking the ice. Once the ice has been broken, I am usually golden, unless I am stuck in a conversation with someone who wants to give me the entire history of the paperclip in america or something. So, you won't find me at networking events. I network, but not at cocktail parties.

MUDDER said...


fermicat said...

Never did any of the networking things. Also never had any trouble finding a job. I hate schmoozing.