Originally posted 2014-05-19 15:01:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
You’ve been alone for too long. The last one ended horribly, when you found out that you valued and needed them far more than they apparently thought they valued and needed you. Oh, you got the “it’s not you, it’s just not the right time” speech….but that’s really not much of a consolation, is it?
Your friends who still have things together…sure, they’ve tried to set you up, but those have just been disasters.
It’s gotten bad. You spend way too much time sitting on the couch watching horrible television shows. Lately, you’ve taken into calling that number once a week…just to get any sense of self-validation and so that you can to get by…but you always feel guilty after each call, and each session takes another piece of your self-worth away.
But now you’ve heard about this place where you can go and meet people…some who are facing the same things you are…and maybe someone who’ll pull you out of your misery.
So maybe…maybe…tonight’s the night. You’re finally getting out of the house, and it’s time to get out there and meet someone…
You look respectable…but not overdone.
Your heart is racing…
…your palms are sweaty…
…your stomach is doing backflips…
…you reach for the door…
Relax, skippy. Take a deep breath. It’ll be okay.
After all, you’re here for a networking event, not looking for a date, for crying out lou…
…what?! You thought I was talking about dating? Oh, hell no.
That was all about getting laid off from your job, your friends trying to help you find another one, having to deal with the phone banks like MARVIN to get your unemployment checks coming so you can pay the bills, and the discovery of the need for networking.
But I can see why you’d think so, since there are an awful lot of similarities.
After all, ITintheD.com started because we couldn’t find anyone compatible that we wanted to spend time with on a regular basis. There just wasn’t any chemistry, and, quite frankly, some of them just turned us off so completely that we wondered if maybe the problem was us rather than everyone else we were running into at these things.
But then we planted a flag in the ground and said “This is us. This is who we are. This is what we’re looking for, and we’re not willing to compromise.”
Well, as it turns out…we have slightly compromised over the years, but you pick your battles. Did it really make things worse when we decided to get away from being a group that was strictly hardcore information technology folks and open it up a bit so that those “in and around” IT could take part? No, it didn’t. In fact, as the group’s expanded and grown over the last couple of years, there’s a much better feeling and dynamic than there ever was before.
But that’s what relationships are about…of any kind. Give and take. Flexibility. Making exceptions and tweaking things about yourself for the other person in the mix so that you can both be happy.
Until you hit a dealbreaker.
You’re a vegan activist on the local PETA board of directors, he hunts and can’t eat something that isn’t primarily composed of meat. Problem.
You’re looking for an information technology job, and the group you just walked into is full of fruit basket salesmen and MLM pitches. Problem.
Just like dating, every relationship that you have – whether it’s personal or professional – teaches you something. Well, unless you’re too stupid to be paying attention…in which case you deserve to repeat the same mistakes in both worlds.
If nothing else, you should learn what you like and don’t like. What you can and cannot accept in the other party. What excites you and what turns you off.
All true, and all of that and more exists in each and every one of those relationships. You and your job. You and your friends. You and a peer that you meet with from time to time for a drink and chatting purposes. You and your significant other.
Now, this isn’t a new concept. Not in general, and not even for us.
Don’t Be That Guy: Creepy Guy has been live for two and a half years, and comes at it from a slightly different angle. And by “slightly different“, we mean “just because there are similarities, that doesn’t mean a networking event is a friggin’ meat market pick up event, dumbass“. And we have given enough fair warning that such behavior just simply isn’t tolerated. So you might want to read it.
Last summer, I wrote about The MBA Candidate. No, no Masters of Business Administration here…this one’s Married, But Available. Another kind of person that you don’t want to run into in either your dating or networking life. This one’s particularly frustrating for recruiters.
Remember the show “Love Connection” from the 80’s? Chuck Woolery, a couch, an audience and a person with three potential first dates. The selection of a first date…and then the results of that first date brought to you from the couch and the video screen so that it could be dissected, ooh’d and aah’d over by the audience and you at home, and then ultimately the revelation of who the audience thought was the right move. A decision as to whether this fledgling relationship would continue another step, or get crushed in favor of another option.
Metaphorically speaking, we’ve been on a lot of first dates.
And so, over the next few entries, we’re going to be your Chuck Woolery. We’re going to guide you through the analogies of dating and networking, and offer up some cautionary tales to help you be ready for what’s out there.
We’ll get you started…in two and two.