Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Networking FAIL

Tonight, I went with my friend L, a biglaw attorney, to a pro bono event in town.  The event was billed as a "celebration" of pro bono efforts by local attorneys, but it really was just a "hey, you should do pro bono work" push from local legal services orgs.  Nothing special, and nothing that I haven't participated in before when I was a project assistant to the law school's pro bono project. 

When I arrived, the temperature in the room was about 75 degrees.  Stifling in a fully lined business suit.  Ugh.  Talk about uncomfortable! Even worse, some of my classmates who are working at firms in the area were there, and it was slightly awkward.  When I am dealing with people who are naturally introverted like some of these people, I feel obligated to take the lead in conversations, asking questions about their lives and practices, even though I could care less.  I just hate awkwardness. 

During one of the "speeches" the presenter started saying, "I am going to go around the room and ask people to introduce themselves and say what organization they are with."  And I almost had a heart attack.  Was I going to have to admit to a room full of people with jobs that I didn't have one?  The thought made me sick to my stomach.  I know that lots of new grads are still looking for work, but I think I was the only person there without an organization's name under theirs on the stick-on name badges they gave us.  Well, the speaker meant that she wanted people from the non-profits who were angling for help to introduce themselves, and I was relieved.  Incredibly relieved.  For some reason, when I am around a bunch of people who graduated when I did, and 6 out of 7 have jobs, I hate being the odd woman out.

It made me feel like a loser.  Big time.


So much so that I passed up any further chance to network with those in attendance, and fled with my friend right after the speeches were done.  This is totally not like me, and is very telling as to my state of mind when it comes to my career these days.  And that is just....sad. 

I am attending a training session for the bar's "lawyer assistance program" on Friday, and I am going in there with guns blazing, and will try to network my butt off, unemployment be dammed!

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