Secrets of the Job Hunt


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Networking With Jerks

Anyone can be good at networking when the person in front of you is kind, scintillating and thinks you're a rock star. The way you find out if you're really good at networking is can you network with jerks.

The trick to being good at networking is to not be put off when someone does something obnoxious. Because most people will annoy you at one point or another. So you're better off putting it to the side and trying again. Even the jerks can be helpful.

That's why I'm writing a post for Joel.

When I asked him for a favor, for my blog, he said no. To be fair, I wasn't paying him, and Joel has offered to pay me for this post. But he's not paying that much. So I'm really writing this because I think Joel is smart and clever and he's a good person to have in my network.

But he did piss me off. I have a feature on my blog called Coachology. (Let me take this moment to link out to a particularly good one.) Coachology is a place where I write about service professionals I have a lot of respect for, because it's hard for everyone to know who the good people are when you're trying to hire someone to help with your career. In exchange for me writing about someone, I ask them to give two hours of free consulting to one of my blog readers.

Check this out: No one has ever said no. And there's a waiting list for people who want to do it. But I skipped the waiting list and went straight to Joel. I asked him to do search engine optimization. I thought I'd explain to my community why it's important and why I like Joel, and then Joel could do two hours of consulting.

He said no. He said two hours is a lot of time.

So I am making sure that this post only takes about 45 minutes. But I am doing the post, because I could tell you about a bunch of other stupid and annoying bloggers who have pissed me off but they would not take the criticism nearly as well as Joel would. It's part of why I like him.

In all cases, when I have thought fellow bloggers were rude, lame or – yes, there is one in particular like this– misogynist , I have put the problem to the side and continued the conversation. The great thing about the blogosphere is that it is a conversation, so there's always a chance for things to get better quickly.

And I marvel that I have always benefitted from keeping up the conversation even when someone pisses me off. People don't usually mean to be as obnoxious as they are seeming. That's one thing. The other thing is that people can be both annoying and helpful. (And, in fact, Joel is probably thinking this is true of me, right now. )

If you want to be great at networking, be patient and forgiving. And, if you want to be really, really good at networking, don't use this post as a model: Don't keep score.

1 comment:

naocha said...

people call jerks a numb to what others say,a loser who couldn't understand his own,a preacher of his own and a stubborn such we hate them but surely jerks are'nt bad at all,they are honest people,in a way satirical.i would love myself to be called as a jerk because that way i may keep some space for myself only