Attended my first business networking event last night for over a year. It’s a sign of how long it’s actually been that I sort of enjoyed it. By and large networking events are drear things when often you get stuck with people you’d dread being trapped in an elevator with. For me though it was refreshing and almost new. It was a reminder, among other things, that this is the business I do (or used to).
It started in simply putting on a suit. That felt swell. I felt serious again. Like a grown up. A cool grown up though, not a stuffy, daggy dad sort of grown up. A contender.
I was in the shop for a few hours and then we closed early and I gave a therapist a life to the city because that’s where I was going.
This was an event for senior IT people. I’ve been a member of the group for a while, but this was the first of their functions I had attended. As the presentation began I cast an eye about me. I figured there were a lot of boring IT types there. People who talk with arcane enthusiasm about strange things that possess acronyms as if it’s holy writ. There were a bunch of grey haired types in good suits, probably CIO’s or CTO’s, and stouter characters in off the rack suits I figured would be the IT managers.
I had anticipated what it would be like, but in actual fact it was a tad different to that. I’ve travelled in a different direction to most people, and not just in a professional sense. Despite the travails of recent years I’m trimmer than I have been for ages, have no more grey hairs than a few years back (unbelievably), and with my hair long and lustrous look more like an entrepreneur than an IT professional. I expected to come up against my antithesis, and while that was true in some ways, the shallowness of that expectation was quickly shown up – as I should have known it would be.
After the presentation – about cloud computing, wouldn’t you know? – we fetched a drink and plucked some tasty morsel from the platters going around the room, and then set about the real business of the night – meeting and greeting.
I thought of this night as my coming out. For so long I’ve been dormant, and utterly disconnected from this world. It was enough for me to be there, hear the lingo, jawbone a little, and generally become reacquainted with it all. Much as I need a job I had no real intention of pushing too hard, and I had no business cards to hand out.
As it turned out I got back into the groove pretty seamlessly. I didn’t meet a lot of people, but the people I met were quality and we had a good conversation. I got one really good contact from it by a guy who promises to help me out; and another guy who owns an IT servicing business interested in me doing some freelance gigs for him.
I walked out feeling real again. It was not as cold as lately. In the City Square sparkly lights lit up the place. I crossed the road feeling swish in my suit, and one of the chosen once more, bought myself a take-away spring roll to augment the delicious, but sparing, nibbles, and then drove back contemplating the whole box and dice. This will work, I thought.