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  • Writer's pictureSJ Baublitz

Ask a Boss: Networking Woes




Dear Bid Boss,


I’m an early career professional. I’m in my first job in global development and I’ve been here about two years, so my relevant professional network is pretty much limited to some friends from grad school and other people at my own organization.


The pandemic hasn’t helped, but I think it’s also that I just hate networking. I’ve joined a few networking events, even some aimed at early career professionals, and it felt so awkward and uncomfortable. Do I just grit my teeth and keep going till I start to know enough people that they’re less awful? Am I missing whatever everyone else did to meet people in our field?


--Networking Hermit


 

Dear Hermit,


Blegh. I am with you on the disdain for Networking-with-a-capital-N. Putting so much attention on an organic process like building an authentic network can only result in making it feel forced and unpleasant. Like dancing, most of us prefer to do it while no one is watching.


Think about the people in your network who you consider your really authentic connections. What helped get the relationship to the point that it is, and how can you replicate that type of experience without actually working together with someone at the same organization (unless you’re considering hopping jobs a few times to meet people)? For example:

  • If putting heads down and working side-by-side with folks helps you connect, how about signing up for a training?

  • If you’re tired of the idea that networking needs to be a transactional experience that notches us up the career ladder, try broadening your idea of who you need in your network. Spend time doing things you like with a diverse group of people who spark your creativity and teach you something new – who cares if they’re in our field or what their title is! (Join a language conversation group! Learn capoeira!)

  • If it’s sharing the experience of discussing problems and helping one another come up with solutions, have you considered joining a cohort within the Clubhouse? These are smaller, non-public communities so you have space to discuss actual issues.

And yes, the more you know people, the more your network does grow effortlessly. But it also takes time, as does all relationship building. You be you and good luck getting things rolling.


Amicably,


SJ



 

AskABoss is a regular series on the Bid Boss Clubhouse! Members will see posts regularly, with occasional posts re-shared here on the blog. Membership in the Clubhouse is free, so sign up today at club.bidboss.org if you want to see these as they're released!


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