Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Networking burnout

Update on the old job situation: na-da. Nothing!

However, that's usually not an acceptable answer to parents, in-laws, or even Lewis. They are all trying to help me out and genuinely care a lot about my employment status (perhaps more than I do at this point...) SO when the question arises, (as it inevitably does quite often) "How's the job search?" I really do have to give an better answer about my glacial progress from Netflix-binging to employment.

Enter the magical land of networking.

(1) From Webster's Dictionary: "the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business."
or alternatively
(2) From urbandictionary: "A yuppie euphemism for kissing ass in order to get a job or obtain a raise or promotion."

I have found both definitions to be extremely accurate. You could say I'm experiencing a little networking burnout at this moment... We arrived in Colorado right about Thanksgiving 2015, so just about 3 months ago. Lewis didn't start until after Thanksgiving so we spent some time together (and my brother came to visit). The week he started, the moving van arrived so my time was spent unpacking-cleaning-unpacking-cleaning-breaking down boxes forever. Once our lives were semi-organized, I felt a lot of pressure to start looking for a job better known as networking.

Gonzaga Law's career counselor sent me some names of lawyers here in Denver. I contacted all of them and heard back from two. Of the two, I've met one. (For fun, let's keep a tally, shall we?)

Contacted       Met
 5                 1

After Christmas, I broadened my search to include Aggie grads as well. Found one, reached out, we had lunch. 

Contacted       Met
 6                2

After New Year's Eve, one of my best college friends sent my resume to a family friend who's well-connected in Denver. He introduced me to a two of his contacts. 

Contacted       Met
 8               2

Of the two, I met with one right away, who later got me in touch with three of his contacts. 

Contacted       Met
 11              3

Meanwhile, my in-laws (from Colorado) are also offering contacts, one of which I contacted early in the year. 

Contacted       Met
 12              3

Finally, I found another Aggie yesterday and reached out. 

Contacted       Met
 13              3

And, if we project a little into the future, we can update these numbers still. I am meeting someone for lunch today, going to a Colorado Bar Association Meeting tomorrow, and having a coffee on Friday with two people. 

To summarize, in almost 3 months, I have contacted 13 people and by the end of this week, will have met 7. Basically, this is a slow, slow process, with frustratingly slow results. And I don't even mind networking either! Growing up, my dad taught my brother and me how to properly shake someone's hand (I remember rehearsing in the car sitting in our host's driveway), how to start and carry a conversation, and basically, how to "work the room." On top of my early indoctrination into networking, law school was bursting with opportunities to hone your skills with lawyers/judges/people who may employ you. For me, meeting new people is engaging and interesting. As an extrovert, I feel the most energized by being around other people. In general, networking is not necessarily nerve-wracking or hard - ALL THE MORE REASON that I'm feeling burned out (why is it so hard now??). 

Don't get me wrong with the networking-burnout-frustration. I am extremely grateful for everyone has been helping me out - my parents & in-laws, friends of friends, contacts who graciously connect me with even more contacts. I know not everyone has this many people pulling for them and that is very encouraging. (Thank you!) And I am very grateful for the contacts who have met with me or replied to my emails. I have no doubt they are all very busy, are helping me out because they've been here too, and get exactly nothing in return from doing so. (And even bigger thank you to them!) I think that they, more than anyone else probably, know what it's like to hoe this row and be blasting zillions of emails into the networking vortex hoping one of them will result in a job.

On the one hand, I am not at all surprised that I have made virtually no progress finding a job. As I keep recounting to loved ones, I didn't go to law school here, didn't do any internships here - no one knows me! So, half the battle is just a little name recognition (that name being "Gonzaga," not "Paige Cutter.") Additionally, it's a weird time to be looking for a job - end of one year and the beginning of another. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. 

On the plus side, I've been afforded a great opportunity to consider what I really want to do, what sort of career I'm looking for (trying to take advantage of the time off and all that!). And if you read about "what I really thought of law school," you'll know that I'm not sure I want to be an attorney at all? This break is really prompting some introspection that I think is long overdue and incredibly important. After all, if I'm going to make a career change, isn't this the best time to do it? 

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