Thursday, December 1, 2011

a networking breakfast (lyn)

It's not even 8 o'clock, and already I'm dressed in semi-professional attire (all black, including the boots), and waiting for Gail in the lobby of the Yale Club.  I am proud of myself for being up and out at such an early hour, until I realize that most of the world functions this way.  I’ve clearly forgotten the daily rhythm of a go-to-work routine.

Gail has invited me to a networking breakfast given by a recruiter.  I don't want to go, as I am bashful and uncomfortable at these kind of events.  That, and I don't like my answer to the inevitable question, "So, what kind of work do you do?"  We are among the first to arrive, but the room fills quickly.  I notice three things immediately:  Gail is an expert at introducing herself to strangers; she always receives a welcoming response when she does; and I am not the oldest person in the room.  

With Gail as lead, I branch out and start meeting people.  The stigma I imagined of not having a high-powered job is just not there; I meet other unemployed people.   I comment to a woman about her chic and unusual dress.   My first card exchange is with her; on the back of her card she writes the name of the small boutique where she bought her dress.   How fitting that my first networking attempt should involve shopping.  But soon there are other introductions and I realize that this is not that hard to do; we are all here for the same reason.

The food is great and I indulge in most of it---coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, eggs, bacon, mini bagels with cream cheese and lox, and a small fresh fruit cup.  I talk to people about college essay-writing and marketing.  I may even email a few.  I'm glad Gail convinced me to go; I just wish that I'd skipped the bacon.

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