Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tonight I'm going to a networking function organised by a commerce and computing club at my university.  It's held at a fancy place near the riverside with no Sidney Samson in sight.  As an arts and law student, the only reason why I'm going to a function that's completely irrelevant to my course is because nothing is ever irrelevant.  You can learn new things from everybody and getting to understand the inner machinations of different industries is always very fascinating.

Sadly, not everyone is able to engage well with people from vastly different backgrounds.  Last year, I went on a major rant about how shitty and boring some of the corporate representatives were.  There were definitely some great talkers but I assume that some of them were chosen to talk to us because alas, they were the most expendable dudes in the workplace.  I'm sure there were a couple of guys/gals who would rather have been sitting at home watching Mad Men or Breaking Bad instead of humouring us uni kids with things like:

"Well, my day to day responsibilities include..."
"A day in my life starts off with a bowl of cheerios, taking the tram to ...."

Basically, they're there on the orders of their boss who reasonably decided it'd be good having a person promote the company to a bunch of wide-eyed uni kids.  Brand recognition yo.

But seriously.  Some of those reps were ridiculously shy or completely not social for someone whose job for the night was supposed to be networking.  No matter how many questions I bombarded that guy from the IT company with (can't remember which one), he'd just give me really boring cookie-cutter answers that made his job sound like a grey-scale painting.  Not only did he ignore the fact that I wasn't doing anything IT related at uni and therefore couldn't understand any of the esoteric software shit he was spewing out for the whole night, he didn't even seem to TRY to be enthusiastic and amiable - just polite.  Polite as in "sure, I'll answer your questions" but not "I'll answer your questions and I'll tell you about some really interesting developments in the IT industry!  Did you know..."

Like. Just.  He had no initiative.  And perhaps a reason for that is my course and that I was a first year last year.  But still - it was such a shitty conversation.  I ended up having a really great conversation with a guy who worked at Deloitte (I think it was) and actually responded to me by telling me about all this great social media stuff the company was doing in China and Asia because I was taking Asian studies.

See, the IT guy might not have had that interesting a job in the first place, but surely he should have understood that our conversation wasn't just limited to his work responsibilities.  It could also have included interesting stories or news he can impart to me as a 'mentor'.

Sometimes, it does surprise me when I meet older people ('adults') in a professional setting who don't seem to have excellent social/speaking skills.  But now I realise that I've probably been setting too high a bar.  They were young, some of them in their early twenties, and they were probably a bit disgusted with us first years - all gushing about Deloitte and KPMG and all.  Also, not everyone's an ace debater or an avid news junkie (not that I'm referring to myself lel) or Barack Obama super confident, sociable and brimming with charm even if they are working at a big company.

I guess I'll see how tonight's reps compare with those I met last year.

1 comment:

  1. I've never even gone to a networking thing, so I honestly have no idea what they're like. But I would have imagined that the industry reps there would have seen and met so many people, doing events like this, that by some point the shine just wears off, that sparkle which makes conversation truly communicative. How many people apply for Deloitte? How many apply for DFAT? There's a tendency to dehumanize applicants simply because there are so many of them, and the differences that make each person unique take too much effort and time and memory that it simply isn't worth it anymore.

    But hey, what do I know? Arts/Science fo' lyfe.