I know, you guys know a lot of things that I hate. But in this instance, I'm talking about doing things that don't come naturally. Not so much dusting or vacuuming (because let's be honest, I do neither of those things), I'm talking schmoozing.
I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm not a schmoozer. I'm not one of those people who are born to be put in an awkward situations and slick their way out of them. I'm not one of those people who can be put into a crowded room and leave that room having a bunch of new friends. On the contrary -- I am one of those people who, when left to her own devices with a bunch of strangers, does her best to a) find the bar, and 2) find a way to lean against the bar just so so as not to appear pariah-like. "I'm not talking to anyone because I don't know anyone here, I just choose not to talk to anyone. It's my choice, you see."
I only bring this up because I was in just such a situation last night, and I imposed it upon myself. You see, in many industries it's not what you know but who you know. Job openings aren't posted anywhere, but John knows Mary who knows Greta who knows Brandon who knows that Hachi is looking for a job. That means it would behoove me to know as many Johns and Marys and Gretas and Brandons and Hachis as possible. So last night I went out to a launch for a new issue of a publication. I figured that it was free, it wasn't that far, I wasn't doing anything, and if I hated it, I could always go home. I didn't bring anyone with me; if my goal was to meet new people, I didn't want to bring someone I knew who I'd be talking to the entire time. And, well, the first half hour was pretty awkward. I even had a drink and wasn't feelin' it. My location was all wrong, and I couldn't get any conversation going. I wanted to go home, I did. But I enjoyed the outfit I had on, so I wanted to get some more mileage out of it. (Nevermind that I wore it to a play Monday night.) So I went back to the bar, relocated myself, scoped out someone else who was alone, and ended up chatting the rest of the night away. I met a handful of new people, contact information was given, and I left feeling pretty darn good about myself. So good, in fact, that I ended up at himself's place of business for a nightcap.
I hate networking and schmoozing. I will never do it willingly. I am jealous of all of you who can do it effortlessly. I hate that it's such a big part of things. But for brief periods of time, I can do it if I have to.
And that, my friends, is called growing.