Sunday, August 22, 2010

Play well with others

This is what it's all about. When your parents sent you off for your first day, as you got on the bus, their main concern was that you would have fun, be safe, and make friends. As I began orientation, the little giddy girl inside me was reminded to always play well with others. This is something that has not been easy for me in the past. I learned, often the hard way, that my opinions were not common, and not everyone cared. I can be off-putting. Back in grade school, I was teased, as most kids are at some point. This developed into a snarky, defensive facade, pushing away people before they could be mean to me. As I've gotten older, self-reflected and attempted to change this about myself, I was struck once again with a "new school" situation.

Not only is this a pressure we put on ourselves, because truly, who doesn't want to be liked? But this is also a pressure put onto us by business school. For two days, every presenter, all the alumni, faculty, and current students spoke about the importance of networking. Coming from the film industry, this is a mantra I am very familiar with. That being said, what networking really means is "go make friends, sweetie." Going forward, as I begin my two years in business school, this is one of those quiet fears no one dares to mention aloud. They might say "I'm not big on networking" or "Networking is really intimidating" but what it really comes down to is that kindergarten fear that the other kids won't like you and you'll end up eating alone. The strongest networking relationships are those in which people also count you as at least an acquaintance, if not a friend. So if you fail at this, what hopes do you have in succeeding in your career?

Doom and gloom, hardly. Because truth be told, if you can't make friends, make yourself valuable. People may not like you, but they'll need you. We're all brilliant or we wouldn't be here (so they tell us). Find your niche, your personal brand, and run with it. Show it off and let it shine...then the friends should come. It's been hard to breathe this week, but I'm learning. I don't think I'll be eating least I haven't yet.

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