I'm Just Saying…

March 9, 2013

A Note About Networking

You know the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Whoever coined this phrase didn’t know he (or she) was the creator of networking. Yay for them. Networking is most commonly applied in the business world. To wit: in order to get anything done, you need someone else. Therefore, you must meet as many people as you can. This is in keeping with the next adage, “No man is an island.” If you attend a networking event and listen carefully, you will hear the soft, melodic lilt of Barbara Streisand singing “People…people who need people… are the…” you know the rest.

For the uninitiated, painfully shy, or anti-social, the goal of networking is simple: he who dies with the most business cards wins. Way back when (or about 5 years ago) people actually swapped business cards. You were expected to walk around with something the size of a wedding album filled with cards. Now everyone has a phone that holds a gazillion bytes of information. More memory, more room for contact information. More contacts, more networking. Yay for progress.

I define networking a tad differently. Network is the process in which you meet strangers. You speak to these strangers for no other purpose than to catalogue what they might be able to do for you should the opportune moment arise. I don’t see doing this. I prefer to build friendships with people I enjoy spending time with. I’m sure Jack Welch won’t be calling me for my opinion on business, or anything else,  anytime soon. I’m just saying.

Networking does not apply solely to business settings. People network socially. That’s why when some people move they have a village to help them. I, however, am the idiot standing in Walmart buying EZ Sliders ™ because I need a bureau moved.  I don’t network well, therefore, I will be moving the bureau by myself. If I networked, I would have a cadre of people to call. I’m just saying.

The normal process of networking looks like this:

networking

In my case, it looks like this:

left out

You see my problem.

Writers are generally assumed to be antisocial. That’s not true.   Writers spend time with people; lots of people. They just happen to be fictional people running around in the fertile playground of the imagination. These fictional people are  interesting, even fascinating.  But they can’t move a bureau. I’m just saying.

When I was a mere foundling, my parents passed along a piece of their sage advice. They said “If you have two or three good friends in your lifetime, you’ll be lucky.” These would be the people you laugh and cry with, the ones you show your worst self to and they still love you.  These are the people who are supposed to move the bureau. Why then would I spend my days talking to complete strangers and collecting business cards that will clutter my purse (and my purse doesn’t need any more clutter I can tell you that)? I wouldn’t and I haven’t. So why this sudden concern over networking now?

I just completed a first draft of a screenplay. Anyone who has written anything can tell you the completed first draft is the stage where there’s a ton of work still to be done but a finish line is in sight. The idea of actually submitting the screenplay somewhere, to someone, now floats languidly in the recesses of my mind, followed by the question, “Do I know anyone?” No, no I don’t. And why is that? Why is it that I don’t know a chiropractor whose sister is a yoga coach who’s dating a personal trainer whose cousin is an aesthetician who waxes  Jennifer Lawrence’s legs? Why? Because I don’t network, that’s why.

I console myself  with the idea that if this whole screenplay thing doesn’t work out, I can always pursue a career in counseling. I can start an association, the AANI – Association of Anti-Networking Individuals. Members will meet once a month and not speak to each other. It will be an opportunity for the anti-social or painfully shy in the community to meet other like-minded individuals… and not network.

I’m just saying.

 

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2 Comments »

  1. This is priceless and i understand it completely because for the past 18+ years, I’ve been preoccupied with trying to draw out my very creative, very introverted daughter. I can hear her saying so many of the things you mentioned and she’d definitely be a charter member of AANI while I have a desk and purse overflowing with business cards and actually crave the next networking event. Great post, Jill. Thanks for sharing 😉

    Comment by Carolyn Moore — March 9, 2013 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Carolyn, Thank you! I appreciate it! We’re all in this together 🙂

    Comment by jillamyrosenblatt — March 10, 2013 @ 1:59 am | Reply


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