I network. Infrequently, but I do it (or try to do it) I'm terrible at it.
Many of my networking situations are in events and venues where everyone has an end goal - make a sale, find a job, get that next big contact or contract, meet a guy/girl. I typically don't have the same end goal(s).
I work from home. My socialization these days involves mom + kid dates. I love them, but need more. My attendance at networking events is strictly to keep my toe in the water. Plus it always was and always will be WHO you know, rather than WHAT you know so I'd better know some people, just in case...
So anyway, my networking attendance if becoming forced. Awkward.
I had business cards made up (on a recommendation). They have my name, my Twitter account a few ways to reach me, mostly electronic. People desperately grasp for a title, my job, a role when they meet me.
What do you do?
Why are you here?
I struggle with answers. I'm not there to promote a product or my company. I'm not really there to promote me. I have no agenda. It's odd to most people.
Add to that my 'job' is a catch all. Literally. I don't have a career or even a job, per se. Every day is different than the one before. I could be an office clerk or a purchasing agent and tomorrow I'm managing a portion of a client's technology implementation. My spectrum is large and diverse.
And I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I'm not even sure yet that I want to grow up.
And I'm not really looking for a new job, but I'm not closed off to one either. But it needs the flexibility that I have now. Work from home, six weeks vacation, ability to use my lunch hours to volunteer at the school or for the Cub Scouts. ...
And I'd really rather work for myself or with a small group starting a business for my next gig. I'm kind of tired of toiling for "the man."
So it's a challenge.
I guess that's why when I read this article from BNET today (http://bit.ly/ppSG7x), it really struck a nerve (in a good way). I'm going to have to keep this in mind next week when I go to my next networking event.