So, Friends, there is this thing here in the Capital of the Free World (and environs) called “Networking.” It’s not necessarily for finding a new job or getting something published/produced/filmed/manufactured–it seems to be more of a sport. Like most of the puffy-clouded jack-assery that goes on around here, not one thing might happen, except your LinkedIn requests will potentially spike and you might get a little drunk on free well drinks. Since I’ve stumbled into a 9th row seat to witness the 21st century version of the Fall of Rome, when my neighbor-friend invited me to one of these events I said, “Love to!”
Then I didn’t go. Apparently, you have to have business cards.
Commence analysis paralysis. I’ve spent a year-plus out of education, but most of my experience is in education. I’m not actively looking for a new job, but I’m open to opportunities. What do I put on this card?
Suzan Pitman–Girl Wonder
Suzan Pitman–All That & a Bag of Chips
Suzan Pitman–Sort of Funny, Kinda Nice
I was advised to stick with the basics, so 100 very basic business cards are being printed even as we chat so that I can go with my friend next time. I did come up with something I think is totally genius–on the back they have “It was nice meeting you!” then below that “We met at:” so I can quickly write in where I met the person with whom I’m exchanging business cards so there’s a better chance of being remembered a week later when they clean out their wallet/purse.
Now that the cards are taken care of I have to come up with something called “an elevator speech.” It was described to me as something I might say about myself to someone who makes eye-contact with me on a 15 second elevator ride. Dear God! I don’t have enough internal filters to shut that particular monologue down. Weeks later I am still randomly having Tourette’s-ish outbursts of snorty giggles at all the things I could say to someone about myself in 15 seconds, and then, in a mind-numbing 180, freaking myself out because I’m not sure I can fill 15 seconds with anything notable or worth sharing. “I knit a little?” “I make an amazing frittata?” “I like to ride my bike?” “Sometimes I do volunteer work?” “I used to teach but now I don’t?” “I spend my days in a basement?” This level of summarization has thrown me. I guess I need a professional 6 Word Memoir.
What this boils down to is how do I present my best, most polished self without losing myself? Not everyone finds ex-pat Texans charming around here (you should hear the ration of shit I take about Rick Perry). I haven’t been here long enough to know the Code, not sure if I even want to know the Code, and I do not have a string of credentials behind my name. I have absolutely nothing to hide behind (except, possibly, a couple of rum-and-cokes). It’s just me and me. And, last thing–by D.C. standards I AM OLD! That’s right–O.L.D.
All that said, me and my plain-Jane business cards are going to saddle up in the next few weeks and git ‘er done. I will meet 32 year olds who were out saving the planet at the same age I was when I ran off to Mexico with David Pitman and fixed coffee for former governors at a book store coffee shop for 6 bucks an hour. They might have 3 creds behind their name, but I have a nice clean space behind mine for drawing smiley faces, which is how I’ve decided to think about it.
Thanks for listening!