i love meeting new people, even if it makes me a little nervous. but one set of words that i hear at mixers and networking events makes me really want to run for the hills. you may have uttered these words. and i want to share some alternatives with you, so that you’ll make more connections, rather than having people dash off.
last night, i attended a fun networking event in berkeley, full of people who are on linkedin. the event was hosted by ilene koehler, who set us up in speed-dating fashion, to mix and mingle for five minutes per “couple,” and then move on. i noticed that three of the people i met immediately introduced themselves by saying something like this:
昨天晚上，我在伯克利参加了一个有趣的交友活动。很多人是linkedin社交网站的网友。 这次活动的主持人是ilene koehler。她主持我们进行速配约会，每“一对”交流五分钟，然后换不同的对象。我发现我见到的人中有三个直接这样介绍自己：
“hi. i’m john doe. and i’m unemployed.”
shoot, this isn’t an aa meeting. but those initial words left me feeling awkward and sorry for my fellow networkers. somehow, i felt obligated, like i was supposed to help out. the energy between us felt heavy. so i actually told one of these networkers, “hey, you shouldn’t say your unemployed. say you’re between jobs. or tell people that you’re looking for a new job in whatever field you’d enjoy.” he got the point immediately. he smiled. he felt better about himself.
you see, saying “i’m unemployed” tells people what you’re not. and, in this case, it communicates “i’m not employed.” to me, saying “i’m unemployed” sounds a little bit like you don’t feel like you fit in with the world. look, my friends, your self-worth is not determined by your job.
i invite you to consider what really makes up your self-worth—like your caring heart, or your ability to stand tall in the face of adversity. but please know that you are not a social misfit just because some company has not decided to bring you on board. or some organization decided to let you go. a company is not your family, believe it or not. so, if you don’t “belong” to a company, you’re still a living, breathing, talented human being.