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View Full Version : Fake People: Professionals, Networking



cazort
12-03-2004, 09:52 AM
I just went to this "young professionals" group in Cleveland, and although it was sort of cool, it wasn't my thing. I am wondering if anyone has felt the same way. I actually met a handful of people that I knew already, which was cool, and then I was very friendly and talked to a ton of people.

But it just felt wrong. Like...people there felt fake, reserved. I felt like I talked and listened all evening long without having one real conversation. There was a disconnect.

Afterwards, I walked a long walk up the hill from the flats near the river to the top of the bridge where I waited for the bus to go home. I am almost positive I was the only one of the more than a hundred people there who did not drive.

So I'm waiting for this bus, and this random guy just comes up and we start talking, and I feel like we had a real conversation. He's black and grew up in housing projects. We talked about a lot of things. He talked about when he got in a fight and someone put a knife in his eye, so now he can't see clearly at night out of that eye. I talked about my childhood, he talked about his. We both talked about racist whites, he talked about racist blacks. We both talked about drugs, about people who sell, people who buy and use. He talked about having to sell drugs to support his family. He talked about guns, about white drugs dealers in black neighborhoods. We both talked about the city, and its different neighborhoods, and about the bus.

This is where it's at. I just get so sick of the fake, over-hyped "professional" world. I go to this event, and everyone there is white, and they don't know shit about anything. They don't know their own city, they don't know what life is like for people in their own city. They don't understand how to talk to someone. They're worried about image. They don't want to open up because they're afraid.

People on the streets are not like this. They open up, because they're not afraid.

I just sometimes wonder who I am. Why is it that I am white, but I am incredibly uncomfortable talking to white people? Why is it that specifically, I am a "professional", yet I cannot relate to other professionals? I see them as snobby, stuck up, and totally out-of-touch with reality.

It makes me really sad sometimes and it makes it difficult for me to form meaningful friendships. I could have met 30-40 people last night, easily, but I doubt I'll become friends with any of them. I could more easily become friends with this random drug-dealer from the housing projects.

WeirdBrake
12-03-2004, 10:01 AM
Well.... in defense of cracker-ass crackers... :p

Aren't those young professional networking events a breeding ground for superficial BS?

pisces2473
12-03-2004, 10:05 AM
Would you go to another one of these "networking" functions, Cazort? It sounds like you're trying to find the "real deal" and these people are on a completely different wavelength. Sounds very frustrating, but I think WB is right--superficial people flock to these things...

ErLeCa
12-03-2004, 10:11 AM
I get really tired of that too. Not solely with young professionals or professionals in general but with everyday people I meet. There must be more substance there than I've been able to find. I think you're right. Some people are afraid of who they are or how they'll come across so they hide themselves behind a mask. It's sad really.

blueyes
12-03-2004, 10:23 AM
I got rooked into a conference here in Pittsburgh because my office manager couldn't be bothered to go, and they needed another body at the booth. It was awful - mostly consultants and like three freakin' clients. And almost entirely male, which is both intimidating/infuriating as crap and a fantastic bonus.

Intimidating/infuriating: I'm seen as a little girl, who's playing at her job until she gets married and has kids and services her husband. No one really takes me seriously - I was such window-dressing for the company that night. How do you cope with that?!

Fantastic bonus: When I open my mouth and know what I'm talking about, they're floored. That look of shock is so worth it. And all that happy chatter about marriage and 2.5 kids? Go home and ask your wife if she has a fulfilling life, buddy.

Professional meeting type things are all about perpetuating the corporate image, and the fallacies and trappings that go along with it. It's all about the BS, baby.

cazort
12-03-2004, 10:33 AM
I just don't understand how so many people can get together in a room and be so completely full of it, and not care.

Like--I was in this group with two women and one man, and we were standing around chatting, and one girl noted how everyone was all keeping in their already formed group. So I said: "See, I'm one of those people that'll just go in and break up the conversation and introduce myself." so she said: "I guess that's the way you have to be." and then I sarcastically said: "Yeah, I feel completely comfortable here. I'm really in my element."

And she, and the other two, totally missed the sarcasm in my voice. I'm like...geez??? What are people smoking?

pisces2473
12-03-2004, 10:34 AM
Originally posted by cazort
I just don't understand how so many people can get together in a room and be so completely full of it, and not care.
See, they don't know they are full of it. Most people don't. So that's why they don't care. It sucks, I know, but what can be done?

natbumpo
12-03-2004, 10:43 AM
whoa, whoa, whoa...hold up here. How are people supposed to act at a networking function? I seriously doubt talking about racism and drugs are good topics when you are trying to make business contacts.

Are they real conversations, no, but you don't go to networking functions to make friends, you go to make business connections.

One thing I am sick and tired of is people thinking that work should be like their social lives. Here's a wake up call - IT'S NOT, DEAL WITH IT. You have 2 choices - play the game and try to get ahead, or don't and deal with the consequences. You may not like the options, but there they are.

How can you judge people as superficial because you meet them in a single setting and then make a broad-stoke of everyone who attends them? Itís not like youíre talking about a KKK meeting. I think passing judgment on people like that is total crap.

shimmer728
12-03-2004, 11:20 AM
I hate networking events for the same reasons, cazort. Everyone at every networking thing I've ever attended has been totally fake and uppity. Makes me want to find the nearest bathroom and hide. I also dislike passing out my card to random people, too. I certainly know how to schmooze with other professional people, but somehow I always end up feeling like something of a poser.

midtwenty
12-03-2004, 11:53 AM
I've got 2 days of that same bullshit coming up next week at a trade show. Yippie. Can't wait.

WeirdBrake
12-03-2004, 11:58 AM
That I'd love to see... midtwenty trying to wade through the shallow nonsense of a networking event.

Be sure to wear your "3M TA3" shirt. LOL

maxwell78
12-03-2004, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by WeirdBrake

Be sure to wear your "3M TA3" shirt. LOL
What's that mean?

inuts
12-03-2004, 12:01 PM
That's the what I was thinking only couldn't find the words to say!

I think the concept of "networking" is what seems phony, because in my mind when I think of people who want to "network" I think of people who are looking to find powerful and rich people to advance their career for them.

Maybe it's an unfair stereotype. But in business you have to know what you want, and if you don't, attending a network event will make you feel like the whole world is greedy and superficial. If you do know what you want, attending a networking event is a shot in the dark. Will what you need be there? Maybe, and maybe not.

I know I'm now off track, but I think good business is personal--you have to care about doing a good job. You have to care about other people, I mean you really have to care about other people. The work you're doing has to feel like something that you want to see done for other people.

"Networking" sounds like something you do to advance your own career. It sounds selfish. Maybe they should call it "meeting people who care about other people and are looking to meet others who they can work with to make what they do for other people even better." But I suppose that's not as short and neat.

midtwenty
12-03-2004, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by WeirdBrake
That I'd love to see... midtwenty trying to wade through the shallow nonsense of a networking event.

Be sure to wear your "3M TA3" shirt. LOL

If only I could! It will be an exercise in patience, that's for sure. I'm not a crowd person, anyway, and there will be around 100,000 people at this event. By Friday evening I'll need a stiff drink, a Valium, or a bong hit - or perhaps all three.


Max - Read it backwards.

WeirdBrake
12-03-2004, 12:12 PM
Max - Read it backwards.

Better yet, write it down on a piece of paper and hold it up to the mirror. :D

Good luck, mid20! Don't open up a can o' whoop-ass on TOO many people! ;)

maxwell78
12-03-2004, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by midtwenty

Max - Read it backwards.
LOL!

You know, it never occured to me to read it backwards. I've been trying to figure out what it meant for the longest time. The only thing I could come up with was that it was the license plate number off a european license plate.

Me not too bright. :D

tina1979
12-03-2004, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by WeirdBrake
Be sure to wear your "3M TA3" shirt. LOL
I soooo want a shirt like that!:twisted: :D

maxwell78
12-03-2004, 12:33 PM
Originally posted by tina1979

I soooo want a shirt like that!:twisted: :D
Maybe your secret santa will get you one. :D

midtwenty
12-03-2004, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by WeirdBrake


Better yet, write it down on a piece of paper and hold it up to the mirror. :D

Good luck, mid20! Don't open up a can o' whoop-ass on TOO many people! ;)

LOL.
Well, it's a racing industry event, so the air will be permeated with testosterone and gasoline. Those good ol' boys would give me a run for my money in the whup-ass department.

I have to play nice. I'm going to see about 300 customers. Ugh.


You know, it never occured to me to read it backwards. I've been trying to figure out what it meant for the longest time. The only thing I could come up with was that it was the license plate number off a european license plate.

That's too funny! Take a look at the album cover of Beastie Boys' License to Ill - 3MTA3 is the serial number on the airplane's tail. :D

maxwell78
12-03-2004, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by midtwenty

That's too funny! Take a look at the album cover of Beastie Boys' License to Ill - 3MTA3 is the serial number on the airplane's tail. :D
Haha. Very clever. I also thought it might have been some kind of military abbreviation or something too. Evidently that wasn't the case. :cool:

tina1979
12-03-2004, 01:31 PM
Originally posted by maxwell78

Maybe you're secret santa will get you one. :D

I doubt my secret santa would want me to walk out of the house with such an advertisment :twisted:

maxwell78
12-03-2004, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by tina1979

I doubt my secret santa would want me to walk out of the house with such an advertisment :twisted:
No, it would work out great. Because your secret santa could bring you an "I'm with stupid" shirt to go with it for your friends to wear when you're wearing that one. :D