Shop Talk

Open Discussion: Do You Enjoy Networking?

Networking… do you enjoy it? Do you absolutely loathe it? Do you feel in your element making acquaintances and professional insta-friends with other creative creatures?

When I think of networking I think of people whipping out business cards from their wallets and having many drinks with other folks while playing many, many rounds of golf.

What have your experiences with networking been like? Much golf? Much nepotism? I’d be curious to hear if you’ve ever actually been hired because you have successfully networked your way into a paid job, because I have been led to believe this is becoming a continually less-common series of events.

"Woman Roof" by shanecane

Mostly gone are the days of creative professionals going to conferences and handing out business cards. Sure this still happens, and it probably won’t ever completely die, but we’ve also entered a world where potential employers will undoubtedly Google your name before offering you a gig. And since everyone and their Aunt Gerta has a personal website, the era of business card networking looks like a thing of the past.

Do you think it is? And if so, how does networking now work?

This makes networking a more personal transaction — you may find jobs and recruitment through who you know, rather than chance meetings at cocktail parties. I remember artists who would go to parties just to network. Do people still do that?

Here are perhaps some universal networking truths (contradictions intended): Networking can be great because you can get hired by new cool people (aka friends you haven’t met yet). Networking can be a good tool to help treat studio-bound agoraphobes and increase your industry knowledge. Networking can be horrible because you can feel like you’re falsifying genuine human interactions for professional gain, and depending on what floor your condominium in Hell is on, you may or may not be okay with that.

Is networking one of those things that’s necessary in order be a fully-fledged creative professional, or is it time to check smarmy-ness and false-friendships at the creative door?

Please contribute your thoughts and feels in the comments below.