Nick's Journal
2009-12-09 03:11:57 (UTC)

Epiphany or Begrudging Acknowledgement

i can't tell which one it is. but i've finally come to
terms with the fact that, if you want to get somewhere in
life, you have to network. now, like all things, that's not
true 100% of the time. but when you're in a field like that
of the legal field and you have to market yourself as a solo
practitioner, it is the truest thing in the world.

i love the myers-briggs contrast between extrovert and
introvert. an extrovert gains energy through social
occassions, an introvert is drained of it during them. i am
definitely an introvert. it took quite a lot for me to just
convince myself that i should go to these networking events.

i just find networking events a bit smarmy. everybody is
there only because they want something. they don't really
like you for you, they like you for the connections and
business you can get them. it's like they look over your
shoulder when they meet you...sort of like the verizon guy
who travels with all the verizon network. the greater your
network behind you, the more enthusiastic the handshake.

but that's just it. everybody is doing it for that very
reason. after you do it a bit yourself you realize that
it's okay.'s been hard for me to acknowledge
that networking is where its at. but then i looked at the
opposite side of being this gregarious brown-noser (an
obvious extreme on the spectrum). there i saw a guy who
goes to work with his head down, puts in his 8 hours and
makes a living. but there's nothing there that really
excites me in that future. i wrote a (long) while back that
the only thing i really fear in life (other than death...i'm
not too fond of dying) is mediocrity. i am truly terrified
that i could look back on my life and view it with a shrug
of my shoulder. didn't offend anyone, didn't cause too big
of a stir, but hey...i lived.

we are by nature a gregarious species. even those who
insist on their privacy want nothing more than to open up to
people. i sometimes watch with sadness as the homeless
people will talk to anyone on the bus. they're not
deranged, not crazy, just craving acknowledgement, a certain
validation to their existence.

so like i said. it's been tough for me to come to terms
with the fact that my career counselors were right. i still
think it's a cop out term for them to use, but it rings
true. one thing i have noticed, if you're anything like me
and dread these sort of social interactions, you find they
get easier the more you engage in them. i am really getting
into my element. then again, both of my parents are master
conversationalists. my friend dave once said that my dad
was able to make you believe that he cared deeply about any
random topic you brought up. truth is. he did. i didn't
understand it and kind of rolled my eyes about his, "people
just want someone to talk to" mantra he would give me
growing up, but i'm starting to realize that it is in fact
as rewarding as he said it would be.

of course networking isn't all a bed of roses. i've met
some incredible douchebags while networking. i went to this
entrepeneur happy hour and the guys there were insufferable,
egotistical, narcissitic, grandstanding dirtbags. oh my
god, you'd think they fucking found a cure for cancer. this
one guy came up with some bullshit iphone app or other that
he was now auctioning off to some investors. i swear to god
he did everything but extend his hand out so that i could
kiss his (imaginary) ring. also, some of the people in my
field are incurable assholes. nothing is worse than talking
to someone who does nothing but put everybody around him
down (it always amazes me how freely people flap their
mouths about others). for example: i met this guy at a
lawyer's happy hour and we discovered we had a mutual
acquaintance, within about 5 mins of talking he just started
going on and on about what a "phony" that guy was.

so yeah. it has its ups and downs. you also meet really
weird people who aren't really able to keep a conversation,
which shows you just how desperate the times are. but just
keep soldering on, in the long run, it will be well worth
it. (feel free to roll your eyes now!)