When it comes to my career, there’s one thing I hate — Networking. So much so, that I don’t do it in any purposeful way. Which is key if I’d like to, you know, get another job at some point. Or just be better connected to like-minded folks.
This isn’t new for me. I went through college spending all my extra time with my friends, who just happened to all be education majors. A network, sure, but one that wouldn’t get me very far in my PR career. My senior year, I finally went to one or two Public Relations Student Society meetings, but didn’t know anyone and didn’t get involved in any of the activities.
Things haven’t changed in the five years I’ve been in the professional world. I do have a network of current and former coworkers, and my friends now have a much more diverse range of careers. Yet, I still don’t consider myself well connected because while my friends are aren’t all one profession anymore, I still don’t have too many marketing buddies I can talk trends with and trade secrets.
I know that the only way to grow my network is to put myself out there. Much like my issues with making friends, I need to just get out there and meet people. Except, I’m always afraid that I will either look like an eager puppy just wanting a friend, or a blathering crazy person who doesn’t know how to handle herself with grace.
In short, my self confidence is low and my neuroses are high.
Joining a professional organization has been on my to-do list for awhile now. But, I’d prefer to have a wing man to go to things with, and the lack of marketing buddies prevents that. (I know, I could go alone and meet marketing buddies, but that goes back to my fears of being an over eager puppy…)
I’d also love for my company to pay the membership fee, but my boss and I can’t seem to agree on the group to join. I wanted to join the national public relations organization, she doesn’t feel I do PR. I don’t agree with that, but can’t persuade her. I think she’d be more agreeable to the IABC or AMA, but I don’t know enough about either to know which would be the right fit for me. And now, I’m not even sure if she would pay for it; revenue’s down and perks like this are probably ripe for chopping.
It’s basically all excuses. I know I need to suck it up, pick an organization, and join. Maybe start with some events that have a structured program with only a little networking thrown in so I can ease into it. I know 99% of people also hate this kind of stuff, and yet somehow they still get over their self-consciousness and do it.
This is one subject I wish I could be in the 99% percentile on.