Networking… Embrace It & Succeed

Oh ‘networking’. What a word. Even writing it makes me cringe.
As much as we fight it, we all know we need to do it. That one socially awkward chat about the ‘Indian Summer that London is (not) about to have’ could mean the difference between staying stagnant in your job, or propelling your career to the next level. It sounds melodramatic, but I’m not sure it is.
I think we need to redefine the idea of “networking” in our heads, in order for it to become less grim.
When you (I) first think of it, you think of an invite to the “Women in Business” drinks / warm Pinot Grigio / a powerpoint presentation / being forced to wear a name tag (and upscaling your title on it), and sh*t chat about the good transport links near your new flat! OK… SOMETIMES it is like this (I’ve been there), but SOMETIMES you can be networking without even knowing it. That’s the beauty of it. Sometimes it’s as simple as just saying yes to that one quick drink after work, even though deep down you just want to be at home eating pasta and watching the Kardashians.
When I began writing this blog, I wrote a list of how networking has impacted my career in talent management so far…and halfway through writing the list of examples, it struck me that just getting this job in the first place was down to ‘networking’. In 2013, I was happily working at another talent agency, I went for a drink with my friend Ellie (Hi ELLIE!), who worked at Independent Talent at the time, and who brought her colleague Ben (Hi BEN!) with her to the pub. I know myself. I make plans and then on the day, I wish I had never made plan. This was certainly one of those nights, but they were down the road in Soho so I went, and how lucky that I did. As far as I recall (bearing in mind it was 5 years ago now) we had a lovely time, and I am sure we chatted about work, but it was not forced. I was not trying to impress anyone and I certainly would not have called it ‘networking’.
The following week, Ben emailed me about an assistant position that had cropped up at Independent Talent, which he wanted to put me forward for… three interviews later and I was the newest member of the Independent Talent Presenters department. 4 years later and I am still here, in a job that I wouldn’t change for the world (much).
Sure, I have made important and useful contacts during more formal meetings in the office, at work events, even via phone and email, but none remain as strong, or as cemented as the ones in which I have not been trying to network and not put too much focus on it as a thing. I could list out the various ways in which I have found this out in the past 4 years, but I think the one situation I’ve mentioned is the most prevalent. Sometimes all that stands in the way between staying stagnant, or propelling your career to the next level, is the Kardashians!
Until next time ☺️

Grace O'Leary

Grace O’Leary

Junior Talent Agent at Independent Talent Group | @graceoleary

Likes: Cooking. Wine. Cooking with wine. And being bang on time
Dislikes: When your sock slips down in your boot but you are in public so you can’t rearrange it