Hunter S. Thompson once said: "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." and I'm sort at a similar juncture ... not necessarily involving drugs, alcohol, violence, and insanity (although one or more of those were in evidence), but regarding networking.
Over a 27-hour period (from Monday at 6pm to Tuesday at 9pm), I attended FOUR networking events. As those who have been following along on this blog will recall, I try to make a point of going to at least two networking events (and, preferably, ones where most of the attendees are employed, as nothing is more depressing or less useful than being in a room with 500 other out-of-work people!) per week, with the practical maximum being four (I've found that five leads predictably to exhaustion). So, it was with a certain degree of trepidation that I ventured putting "a full week's worth" of networking into one long day.
As I've also noted ... for those of you NOT getting out of the house and networking ... Chicago is a prime networking market. It's typical that I'll have 2-3 very plausible events to choose from on any given weeknight. All the statistics show that the odds of getting a job from "who you know" are far higher than what one can find in various listings ... and networking is the one predicable way to expand your circle of contacts.
Anyway, on Monday night Tim Jahn of Beyond The Pedway was doing a TweetUp (with the sole justification that "it was Monday"), and had a number of his recent contacts with ad agency folks attending ... as agencies are one of my "target" zones, I was very interested in making the acquaintance of these folks! On Tuesday morning was the Social Media Breakfast bright and early at 7:30am at the TechNexus facility in the west Loop. This is a very popular event (the last two have sold out within 20 minutes of registration opening!) dealing with assorted Social Media topics (typically, broken in 4 groups, mine was on SEO this time). The S.M.B. let out about 9am, and I hopped the #11 bus and headed up to Lincoln/Armitage where my lunch meeting was. As that didn't start until 11:30am, I wandered up to the nearest Starbucks, pulled out my netbook, and got caught up on Twitter for an hour or so. This is a networking luncheon that is held every two weeks at a pizza place up there, and I'd been meaning to get to one since first getting on the host's mailing list back in December. It was your "typical mix" of insurance salesmen, investment advisors, network marketers, realtors, etc., except that there were a couple of folks there into creative services, etc. that did ask me to send along my resume, so it was well worth attending. From there I was able to head home for a few hours, before getting ready for the evening's event, Business Network Chicago's "after hours" function down at Texas De Brazil. I'd missed the official deadline for signing up, but was able to get in as a volunteer (helping to run the set-up and registration desk ... easy for a former CMP like myself!). Although I was unable to get into the "speed networking", I did get to chat with a number of folks, and solidified some contacts previously made. By 9pm, I was seriously dragging, and headed home.
Yes, all four events were useful, all four events may have advanced me towards my goal of getting a job, but, man, I don't think I could "recommend" doing four events over 27 hours "to anyone"!