The Laid Off Diary: Dear Diary…this sucks.


Networking, not Netwhoring
June 11, 2009, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

networking 2

Dear Diary,

A while back, Stuff BigLaw Associates Like made a post regarding networking under their People We’d Like To Cut and Cut Deep and Go To Jail For series (tee hee), but, as promised, I really do want to circle back to this topic, especially now, when we’re all trying to network for a job.

We know why networking is important–only 5-10% of jobs are advertised, it never hurts to have someone higher up pull strings for you, and blah blah blah.

But, it’s HOW you network.

I’m just going to share my thoughts on what I thought when people tried to “schmooze” with me when I worked in BigLaw, the stuff my colleagues bitched about, and the stuff I hear from business people.

1. Relax. The stench of desperation can be smelled far and wide and we lawyers and business people are competitive people, not sympathetic people. We don’t care if you have 3 children under the age of 3 and a mortgage. That sucks, but we’re not going to pull strings for you because you’re a pathetic case.

2. Don’t reach out to colleagues in your former firm or in other firms you were NEVER friends with! Don’t email me because I went to law school with you but you’ve never had a beer with me (even though we were at the same bar and you knew I was there but couldn’t even say hi.). Yes, I’ve had people from my old law school email me and ask me to forward on their resume who never forwarded me a beer. Yes, we have a special place for alums in our heart, but our hearts are small and black so you don’t get that much from just being an alum if you were never a friend or tried to be. (Now this is different if you were too young to be there when I was there because we lawyers think we are the smartestest people on earth so we’d love to share our wisdom with you little ones…but remember, we’re mostly full of shit because we are lawyers afterall).

This is even worse if we actively disliked each other and you still thought it was cool to email me and send me your resume. This apparently happens alot because I’ve heard this same sort of thing happening with my friends and we all sit there and make fun of you. Why would you ask someone you snubbed or openly disliked for help? Are you desperate? If so, go back to #1.

3. Don’t be annoying. This is a fine line because lawyers are pretty much annoying folk when they try to come out of their introvert shell because they don’t know how to be extroverted but not in your face. Don’t email me and when I respond, treat me like your new pen pal. Don’t tell me about your day and then have self-serving requests (like, who do you know at X firm, who do you know at Y company, do you know Z partner) sprinkled throughout. And when I don’t respond, don’t call me and leave a voice mail. And if I don’t return your call, DON’T call back. I thought you people learned that you should never leave a voice mail because that means you can’t call back without necessarily being an annoying fool.

4. Don’t use people as tools. I can’t stress this last one enough. People help each other out because we genuinely LIKE each other (and there are some who think they can benefit from helping someone else in a self-interested manner but this probably won’t apply to you begging for a job). I can tell when you’re just trying to add me to your rolodex. Why don’t you, while making a contact, genuinely take an interest in what a person does rather than just trying to make a contact with a person because of their mere title (and it made me laugh because my title as “associate/monkey” at BigLaw isn’t that amazing of a title but man, did law students and lawyers not in BigLaw want to schmooze with me). Don’t be a complete fake. I mean, sure, when the managing partner of a firm tells you an anecdote that makes you want to claw your eyes out from boredom, smile and laugh. But you know what I’m getting at. Don’t be a phony.

In NYC, I’ve had the opportunity to observe not just professional networkers but also social networkers. People who “know everyone” but is liked by no one. I know this guy who calls himself a “party boy” and at every party, he latches on to whoever is closest to him that he thinks is successful enough to be worthy of his presence. He drags this person around and introduces him or her to everyone else he knows. While his victim and the person he is introducing his victim to might like each other or become friends, they both mutually dislike the “party boy.” We all sort of tolerate him because he does sometimes make good introductions and also because he knows everyone and is always around that it’s just better to smile and nod than start something with him. But at the end of the day, nobody really likes him and nobody would willingly introduce him to any of their friends.

Don’t be that guy in either the professional or social sense.

5. Be Tactful, Not Stupid. Don’t post on someone’s facebook wall that you heard they got laid off and if they know anyone that’s hiring. (True story–it’s beyond me why someone would 1) post on FB and 2) ask a laid off person to help them find a job). Another true story: my friend was at a mixer and she introduced an ex-colleague at her former firm to her client who happened to be there (only because it was demanded by etiquette to introduce him). Then the guy gave the client a spiel about how he’s up for partner soon (he’s 6th year and apparently delusional) and said he needs to bring in some business and asked her what business she might have for him. I’ll let you tally up your own score of how many things he did absolutely wrong there.

Another true story: I recently was looking for a roommate. One girl was recently laid off in finance (not sure why she would tell me that since I don’t want someone jobless, other than me, living in my apartment) and her current roommate was moving out so she decided to leave too. Then she decided to stay and asked me if I knew anyone who was looking for an apartment. What?? I need someone to rent from ME–why the hell would I help her before securing a roommate for myself in the same area of NYC for around the same price? Then, of course, the other shoe fell. She asked me if I knew anyone who was hiring (and since I’m crossing over in business, we were both looking at PE/VCs, etc.) and if I could circulate her resume. Really? Why would I give up my contacts when I don’t have a job yet either??

I swear, I’m constantly surprised at how some people don’t just drown whenever it rains because they forgot to close their mouth while looking up.

Don’t be this guy:

blacklisted

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