Some of the people that know me well will know that I absolutely hate networking, it is an activity which I will avoid if at all possible. Back in January I even avoided going to a conference that looked really interesting because the timetable included a few periods of networking which I would have struggled to avoid. Well that and it would have cost me $20 and was in Auckland.
There are multiple reasons why I dislike networking, but I think I will share one or two with you all.
I simply find the whole process of networking awkward and somewhat troubling, firstly it starts with some random person coming up to me and saying hello. Considering I don’t really like talking to people this instantly puts me on edge, that also why you will very rarely see me going up and saying hello to stranger.
But then the experience gets so much worse, it almost instantly descends into what you do and more horrifically what you can do for me. Which is supposed to be the power of the process, it gets people to the heart of what ever collaborations they are able to do currently or could potentially do in the future.
But this is not something I am comfortable with, I am not used to viewing the people around me as an object to further my own desires and I really do not like people viewing me in that way. In fact I have a history of actively sabotaging networking opportunities just so that what ever person is trying to network with me will think I’m a waste of time and go talk to someone else.
I would like to think that I engage with people on a more humanistic level than the materialistic networking level but I suspect that it would be more accurate to describe me not engaging with people at all.
The thing is it seems to me that I’m expected to network more and more and I simply can not bring myself to do it properly. It just seems to me that it is the product of a sick society that actively makes people objects to enrich others. Every time I see someone get excited when they think I might be worth something to them or disappointed when I convince them that I am not I can’t help but thinking that this person has been socialised to have a completely perverted view of humanity.
So networking reminds me that the world is terrible, and that people are unnecessarily cruel to each other. That some people will use any tools to hand to use a person to satisfy their own desires. Of course this doesn’t just apply to business relationships, so many people seem to decide they want something from someone else and will lie, bribe, manipulate, coerce and cheat to get what they want, be it sex, money, love, friendship, prestige, titles or any of the myriad other things that people value.
But can we really blame these people for treating people like shit when treating people like shit is placed at the centre of our economic system and our economic system is becoming an increasingly dominant part of our life. Almost from day one we are competing, the people around us are at first obstacles to and later tools for our ego.
So in short I hate networking because it reminds me that the world is full of cruel ego driven fuck heads and that their behaviour is rewarded by society. And also because it involves talking to strangers.