In every part of the world, they all say the same thing. “It’s all about networking”. Networking, networking and more bloody networking!!!
What they never tell you though is that it all works like a first past the post political system. Whatever party gets more votes, its leader becomes President or Prime Minister.
Basically the more popular you are, the more they become interested. It can feel very parasitic in nature but once you see it as symbiotic, you will feel less used. The more lies you tell your brain, the more it starts to believe it.
I remember writing tonnes of proposals for syndicated radio content and trying to sell them to corporate organisations. I sat in offices for hours watching the receptionist file and polish her finger nails hoping the boss would at some point spare me a moment of his time in the middle of his supposed four hour meeting. But the boss never shows up. You just stroll out of the office with a plastic smile on your face and your tail between your legs. All isn’t lost; at least you were entertained with a bit of mindless chit chat surrounding what make of weave you have stitched to your scalp or the next best unorthodox treatment to deal with your acne. Is it toothpaste or mentholated balm, you will just have to find out.
There are also the ones that make you come to their offices, drive you around their car and apologise at the end about the lack of time to discuss your idea. Then they tell you perhaps it would be better discussed over drinks at a bar or a night club. At least the invite for drinks raises your hopes but you ponder as to whether your physical assets are truly a gift or a curse. It all culminates in a rather interesting handshake where a middle finger is scratching your palm and of course your taxi fare is paid for as compensation for your day of waste. The truth is, they meet people like you everyday, smart, enthusiastic and full of ideas. They are numb from your kind and rather pour millions in funds into the junk they have been sponsoring and financing for years. Because you see in the end, they get a percentage cut as there is always a backdoor arrangement. As for you if there is a slight possibility for a free shag by pretending to show an iota of interest in your idea, then why not.
Then you go out to events. That is because they tell you that in this town, if you have no godfathers, Its all about networking, networking and more flaming networking!!!. There everyone is shamelessly plugging themselves and it seems every conversation is a well rehearsed sales pitch. When you are introduced to the gods in charge, the ones you need to know, the ones whose names begin with the prefix “Brand manager… or one of the largest shareholders in blah blah blah”.
Their hands glide out of yours so quickly, and their glances are removed with such alarming speed, you wonder perhaps, you had just morphed into a repulsive fly that was shooed away with an invisible fly swat. Then your eyes become weary from seeing the same faces at these parties, you become jaded from small talk, and then emerges the boiling point, when you see through all the bullshit and the only words that ring in your head are “I CANT BE BOVARD”
Your life goes back to normal. You work your backside off and hope that somebody takes notice and inevitably, you can earn a bit more money to kick start and finance your own ideas. Then your work starts to garner a bit of a following, and shortly after, recognition ensues. That’s when they all start to pop out of the woodworks. Mr Brand manager searches relentlessly for your telephone number even after you gave him a complementary card as advised by the “Networking Anonymous Bureau cum Association”. They will never remember the first time you met when they sniffed you like putrid fart. They will call and introduce themselves to you sycophantically throwing accolades and appellations on how much they have followed and admired your work. Then inform you about a project they have in progress, which they feel you completely embody and would be the best person to front or take charge off. They want you to become their official mascot, plus if you can think up any ideas, however tacky or nonsensical, they will pledge their unlimited support. What you discover is that now you have something. You have an audience and a consumer base.
Remember that here everyone is selling something and without customers, you can’t push units and can’t make money. So now, you have become of value. You are the gimmick to push their units; you are the strategy to prolong their visibility.
It’s a dog eat dog world as the cliché goes. As the lyrics to a certain song I know, its reads “Have you ever met a leach that’s good at saying goodbye”.
As much as you hate to believe it, networking can be an immense farce. One of three things is likely to draw them to you Money, Fame, or Power and however you choose to achieve that is at owners’ risk.
Your essence becomes narrowed down to your circle of influence.
I say just do the work and one day they will come and find you. The value you have created in the work and your effort will speak for itself despite the length of time and difficulty it may seem to achieve. But most of all when you meet people, know them simply for who they are. It is much more interesting and freeing an experience.
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