I’ve attended some great conferences over the last few months. In August, I’m helping put on PodCamp Boston, and then in September, I’m attending the Podcast and Portable Media Expo in California (LifeHack.org readers: if you want to meet up while I’m out there, get in touch!). What I’ve learned through these experiences is that networking is an important component for getting things done in the current “creative class” economy.
Guilds– In feudal times, same-craft artisans gathered and pooled their resources around guilds. One part union, one part classroom, one part price fixing, guilds were a way for people to learn about jobs through a network: “Hey Philip, there’s a castle going up over in Hamptonshire. Bring your chisels.”
As programmers and project managers and lawyers and (what DO You do- add a comment) artists and writers, you fill a certain niche at your organization. Maybe you’re a freelancer (also a feudal term). You are fulfilling a role within the organization, but it’s not like your coworkers understand the nuances of what you do, especially not in the way others doing the same job somewhere else will understand. It makes sense, then, to gather with others of your skillset and share stories, point each other to potential new work, and just keep people in mind.
The A-Team– “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire: THE A-TEAM” What would that show have been like if that black van were full of ONLY B.A. Baracus types? Sure, you’d have the brute muscle, but you’d lack the charisma of Face, the crazy tech skills of Murdoch, the… what DID Hannibal do? Oh, the leadership of Hannibal.
Meeting people out at events gives you a chance to form your own meta-teams, especially on projects that don’t always relate to your day job. Are you a brilliant systems administrator but lack any understanding of how to code software? Do you need a finance person to help you understand how much funding you need? Attending events and finding other ways of networking with others outside your organization will help you find people to build that new team.
Not Job Hunting, Job Fishing- I forget where I read this term. I’m not trying to coin it. It’s someone else’s. But the idea of job fishing is that instead of having to go out and actively hunt for your next job, you use networking to lay out some possible paths for finding a new job. Job fishing is like casting a big net, and then seeing what fish/jobs come back to you. The old saying goes: Give a man a fish, and he’ll have smelly hands.
I added a starter set of tips for networking on our wiki. Click HERE to read/ add to the list.
-Chris Brogan would love to meet you. Drop him a line after visiting [chrisbrogan.com]