The problem with networking.
*EDIT today's #NoBooksBlog took a twist, and ended up nothing to do with the attached photo. Oh well.
I'd love participate in business networking. I really would. Being a one man band, doing everything myself, and often with days or even weeks (months, if we count 2020), without seeing another business person, I often think it'd be nice to network with other people who run their own businesses. It's a unique kinda lifestyle. Especially if, like me, you've kind of accidentally established a successful small business, working from home, and with no prior experience in, well, any of it! People in a similar situation, to bounce ideas off of, glean experience from, just to know you're not the only one.
But I very quickly found that most networking opportunities rub me up the wrong way.
To start with, the majority are targeted solely at women. Mum-preneurs, MLM agents, business WOMEN in general. The first network event I was able to attend, after leaving the day job (pesky thing!), was one such women in business event. I had to go, cos I'd never done anything like it, and I had to try on various hats as I found where I was comfortable. Maybe it wouldn't be awful, being in a room full of other women. Maybe I would really like it, and find a camaraderie I hadn't known about! I didn't. I was sickened. I mean sickened.
The speaker for the day was a guy from some business body or another. An accountant of some kind maybe? Or a something to do with funding (another thing that rubs me up the wrong way, but there's another blog idea haha). I can't remember, I'm going back a few years. Well, I went in, we did intros and then mingled a bit and I was impressed and intrigued at the variety of skillsets in the group. I was eager to hear the main presentation, and pulled up a chair to await the speaker.
The lady chairing/coordinating this women's networking thing, announced who was speaking, what his name was, and what his job title was. He was the chair of something - and she then 'humorously' added, behind cupped hand, "Hopefully he'll be voted out next time and replaced with a woman" - to much laughter in the room. I didn't laugh. I was disgusted. I was so conflicted. I wanted to stand up and call her out about what she'd just said, tell her I can't accept such a narrow minded, rude, sexist, uncalled for, hostile and out and out unfunny 'joke'. But I didn't. I was there for the first time. I knew I was already uncomfortable about attending a single sex meeting, and I'd already got a few backs up by asking WHY it was a single sex group. So I sat there. Feeling pissed off. At her, at the women who laughed, and at myself for not walking out. Couldn't tell you what they guy came in to talk to us about shortly after, as I was still seething, and that's all I remember about the situation now. So, fucking, wrong. I STILL feel I did myself a disservice by not acting true to form. The normal me would, has, and will in the future, call people out on why they think what they've just said was funny or appropriate. Not on many things. I've a sick and dark sense of humour and am impossible to offend hahaha Except if you think casual racism, homophobia, sexism or xenophobia is ever funny. Cos it's not. And you're a dick.
Right, I'm done with that, I'm not going to labour it. I don't condone OR see the need for, any single sex business meetings of any kind, and although my only dip of the toe may or may not have been a fair representation of what they're like, it's a giant nope from me. I'm a business person who happens to be a woman. I am neither better than, nor beneath anyone else in this world, male or female.
So. I knew after than I would never, ever attend any kind of women only meeting. And I haven't, and I'm pretty sure I never will. I've tried a few other networking formats and events, and none have been a fit for me. I dunno what I'm looking for, and it's only an occasional whim to try something again. But I'm not looking to be part of a network which is really only working towards its annual, in house event of doling out accolades to members; and I'm not looking to pay a virtual stipend to bodies whose vast array of service are of no interest to me; and I've neither the time nor inclination to attend mandatory weekly meetings, when my my work doesn't follow a predictable rota. And I definitely don't want to be associated with any gender specific thing.
But then that wee 'networking would be nice' thought pops up again.
And that's how I ended up doing a one day course with Stacey The Modern Storyteller. As you may have noticed, I have no problem telling a story haha Remembering where to stop is more of my issue :P But Stacey was doing a one day course on using social media. Social media is an ever changing beast, and, again, whilst I'm pretty comfortable with it, I know I don't use it to its full potential. So I thought that this wee course would be full of other local business peeps, and would be a slightly different way to meet them and do some unofficial networking. So that's what I did. You know how I've just said I have no problem telling a story? Well, I've literally forgotten what the point of today's #NoBooksBlog was meant to be, cos I'm back to seething about that fucking women saying that about getting a woman in to that man's post!
You know what, I'm signing off here. If I remember why I began by adding the photo from my very enjoyable day at Stacey's workshop, I'll add another blog at some point. Today is not that day!
Don't be sexist. As soon as you think another *sex is better than yours, you're actually telling yourself that your sex is somehow less than theirs. And vice versa.
I'm away to have a cuppa and stop shaking my head.
*Replace with race/colour/nationality/whatever