Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The pain of having to network at work

Not everyone likes to network. But that doesn't mean that it is not darned important.
Someone recently asked me for advice on their situation:

I've never been the world's most social person but I've just joined a new company in a line manager role where social networking seems almost as important as the job itself. I feel really uncomfortable in this environment. Golf has never interested, so that already puts me at a handicap, while hanging out at the local pub for a pint just isn't my idea of fun either. I'd much rather get back to the wife and kids and it's a long drive home. However, I guess that I'm going to need some level of social involvement and to play the game or I won't be seen a team player. Any advice appreciated.

To cut a long story short (and at the risk of sounding simplistic), I advised him that he has three broad choices:
  1. Get involved in networking if you want to succeed. Realise that many important workplace decisions are made as much on the basis of how much other people like you as how much they rate you.
  2. Quit and find a company that is more in tune with your personal values. If you hate having to socialise with people at work, then make it your medium-term goal to find an organisation where you don't have to force yourself to socialise with people you don't want to socialise with.
  3. Avoid the social networking and let your career stagnate. But that's not much of a third choice really, is it?

To read my full response, click through to the Management Issues website.