The Work/Life Balance of Networking
Nov 13 2007
I have been meaning to write this post about networking for quite some time now but I’ve been
distracted by, held hostage by, paying attention to my network.
Networking is one of those interesting words that I see primarily referenced in the business world when describing connections with people who can help each other with their respective endeavors (e.g., job search, business building, introductions, etc.). I’m not on Facebook yet, nor do I have a MySpace page but from what I read about those sites people do not seem to think what they are doing is ‘networking’ when they use those sites. According to Facebook’s home page, “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.” I never would have thought the term “social utility” would resonate with so many people, but it apparently does.
My philosophy on who I link to and who I send LinkedIn invitations to is best illustrated in Thom Singer’s post at Some Assembly Required called LinkedIn Rant and Challenge to Bloggers which he later expanded on in his More On My LinkedIn Rant post. In summary, I link to people I know, have worked with, and/or had a meaningful email/phone exchange with. I generally don’t link to people who send me blind invites whose motivations for linking are iffy at best.
So why do I call this post Work/Life Balance of Networking? Well it’s because of Gail Evans, former VP of CNN and author of Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman and She Wins, You Win. Back on September 20, 2007 she came to give a talk at the Association for Women in Technology – Austin (AWTA). I have been on the board of AWTA for several years and just stepped down this past summer.
Gail said many profound and informative things about being a woman in the corporate world in her speech, but the comments I found most interesting were on work/life balance and networking for women. Here they are:
- Why do people (i.e., women) constantly talk about work/life balance? It’s ALL one life! We work in that life, we play with our kids in that life, we
playspend time with our spouses in that life, we hang out with our friends/family in that life, and we spend time on ourselves in that life. So if we talk to our kids while we are at the office or we check our Email while at home it’s one life. She said it doesn’t really make sense why people suggest that work and life are warring and opposing elements because LIFE is the clear winner and it includes work!
- Women don’t need to be taught how to network. She suggested that women are born networkers because they can find out anything (e.g., best schools, where to get XYZ, best doctors, etc.) from another parent, a teacher, a shop owner, or whomever when they are discussing their kids and family. Somehow, they have brainwashed themselves into thinking they need to hire someone or read a ton of books on how to network to make the same kind of connections in the business world. [I laughed when she said this because it is so true that many women are scared of the ‘networking’ word at work!] She illustrated with a story about how she overheard a conversation between two women who had met on a airport train on their way home. One was pregnant. The other had kids. By the end of the train ride, Gail said she knew practically everything about them and who each of them recommended the other connect with except for where they worked! Gail brought this up because she found it interesting that AWT brought in networking expert Steve Harper, author of The Ripple Effect to coordinate the ice breaker activities before her speech. I’m not sure Steve stayed for the meeting and heard her make that observation. I think Steve had commented that this was the first time he had facilitated an ice breaker for a roomful of women. Way to go Steve!
Check out the books written by the people I mention above by clicking on the Amazon links below (for those reading this in a feed, you’ll have to click on the link post to see the book images below) and partake of their sage advice!
�Author: Aruni | Filed under: networking, parenting | Tags: balance, gail evans, networking, networking books, play like a man win like a woman, some assembly required, steve harper, the ripple effect, thom singer, work life balance | 4 Comments »