I’ve never been one to give much credence to whole full moon and people acting crazy correlation. Sure, the closer proximity of that minor planetoid, might cause some ripple in gravitation, encourage some infinitesimal movement towards lunacy. I concede that perhaps there is some vestige in the root of our brains that is still crazy enough to run to dry land, when all we breathed was water. Perhaps, if this evolution thing is true, then only the crazy moved on to walk on all fours, and eventually just two. Given this line of thought, perhaps we are the craziest species of them all?
So, what has triggered this clearly lunar inspired tirade of mine? Well, I just came home from a networking event where there was very little networking, and not by accident it seems. The event, per the invitation I received, was scheduled to run from 6 to 9, depending on which schedule one received (see my note below) and was advertised as a “Speed Networking Event”. Well, if you work and you live in Atlanta, you know that you’re not going to get to anywhere on the north side of town by 6:00 pm, unless you work nearby your destination or you leave work early. Still, you get there while people are gathering, and you happen to be blessed with the ability to see the future (or you don’t plan to stay for the whole event), you’re working the room with a passion. I would think that if I didn’t have a job, I would have that person. But being employed (for now) and simply looking to expand my network, I waste precious moments chatting with the organizers.
Once we get started in earnest, the speaker comes up front to share some very useful information about self-branding and how to engage others in the workplace. I already knew 90-plus percent of what she said, so I didn’t gain a lot from it. And while I know some of the greenhorns in the room really ate it up, many of us who’ve been in the game for about as long as the speaker were watching our watches (if you’ve survived, or even dared to achieve in corporate America over any extended duration of time, then you already embodied her message into your way of doing business). Again, she did a nice job. So much so, that the greenhornes in room felt the need to ask another 15 minutes of questions. Most of the questions came from guys, who I strongly suspect were single, and looking to impress the ladies in the room with their intellect. I know, because, sadly, I used to do it too.
Finally, shortly after 8:00 pm, we get to the speed networking. We are given instructions, and the instructor does a mock interview with one of the attendees to show us how it’s done. There are roughly 10 tables in the room, with 4 people per table. Our encounters are timed, and at the end of the allotted time, we are asked to rotate. Okay this goes on for about 10 minutes. Then some of us are asked to get up and move (we’ve spent the fist 10 minutes cross pollinating with the table behind us) and that’s fine. Okay, I’ve moved to my second table (only my 4th person since table was a person short), when the instructor calls time. It’s nearly 8:25, and she takes the 5 or 6 minutes to tell us about upcoming (paid) networking events this month. At first, I’m thinking that perhaps she just wants to get this out there before folks start leaving, but once she’s done, I realize, that we’re done. The event was scheduled to run from 6 to 8:30 pm, not 9:00 pm. I look back at my invitation and it says 6 to 9, but apparently there’s been some miscommunication between the team hosting the event.
So, bottom-line, in an event promoted as a speed networking session, in two and one half hours there was only about 20 minutes of speed networking.
At first you think, “oh well, things happen”. But after I thought about it for a moment, and looked again at the list of 7 to 8 upcoming events listed on the board, I realized this was merely a promotional for the other events. The seemly, misplayed, random twists and turns of the evening where not so crazy after all. Simply put, I got played. They got my money & my time. In these current economic times, this will not be the last time someone tries to play for sure, but I am determined to take what has been given and return back love with an open hand, as crazy as that might sound. For to pass along negative actions only breeds more negative action. Or maybe that’s just the full moon talking to me again.
p.s. I don’t think the organizers meant it for bad. In fact, I think the for profit (instructive entity) and Alumni Association (non-profit entity) both felt it could be a win/win. But I can say personally, it didn’t quite work out that way.
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