Morrissey, PETA, and Networking

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meatMany of you know that I’m new to the Raleigh/Durham area. I moved here in November 2008, and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, I know very few people — in more than a Twitter/Facebook kind of way. When I learned that Morrissey was coming to town, I was so excited. Unfortunately, there was no way that the husband would go to the concert with me because he hates hipsters. I decided to go alone.

It was kind of weird, at first, attending a concert without knowing a soul. Penelope Trunk says that smart people are always practicing — especially when it comes to networking and talking to new people about themselves — so I decided that I would use the concert as a means to practice networking. No one knows me. It’s okay if I screw up.

When I arrived at the concert, I went straight to the PETA table. I figured that a bunch of cynical, disaffected Gen Y kids might want to read a blog about hating work. I smiled and introduced myself, and I started hearing stories of joblessness and underemployment. I shut my mouth, listened hard, and handed out my card.

I made my way through the Durham Performing Arts Center, and I was seated next to a group of ex-pats from Britain. I also sat next to another group who work in the banking industry. I introduced myself and tried not to seem weird and needy. I learned about their jobs, we talked about moving to Raleigh/Durham, and then I mentioned my blog. I only made one stupid comment. When a nice woman asked if I was at the concert alone, I responded, “My husband is in France.” (Technically, that’s true. My husband is in France, right now. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t attend the concert if it were held in our house.)

In retrospect, I wish I would have said, “Yes, I’m here alone.”

Anyway, I spent the entire night talking to new people and handing out my Punk Rock HR business cards that normally sit in a box in my office. I am extroverted, but I hate networking; however, if I can talk about myself and try to meet new people at a Morrissey concert, you can practice your networking skills, too.

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