MSEJ October 2017 - Page 22

Recently, I attended an event where I was lamenting with an acquaintance the sheer number of “things” going on in the community—events geared at military jobseekers. We agreed that it was exhausting trying to keep up. Our conversation left me thinking about the quality of events I attend. Some have been great, but others, I leave, feeling exhausted and wishing I had stayed home.

The reality is not all events are created equally.

And while the first line of defense is, of course, to identify and avoid poorly planned events, at some time or another, many of us will end up in the wrong networking place at the wrong time.

It may come in the form of a too small, too warm room with too many people in it. It may come in the form of a well-intentioned, but pushy person who knows exactly what you should do with your career and what you should value (“Why would anyone go through so much schooling to be a stay at home mom,” he asks). It may come in the form of a sponsor with their own intentions for the event, intentions that don’t match the goals of networkers.

At some point, you may experience a less than pleasant networking event. So, how does one exit a negative situation?

Share Your Love of Free Food.

Some individual walks up to you and introduces himself. He asks, “so what do you do?” You can engage, or you can respond—“I’m only here for the cheese and crackers” or “I heard there would be free wine.” You will send the message—I mean business—about food.

"I’m Just Here for the Cheese & Crackers."

By Jamie Boyle