Once upon a time (meaning back in college) a few friends of mine and I were talking about the different mentality of the various “social” classes in America… not in the sense of financial (nor the current times) but how people were brought up over the generations that became prevalent.
Oddly enough it appeared to be fairly simple as to the priorities of each classes in past generations:
– Lower Class: Entertainment
– Middle Class: Education
– Upper Class: Networking
Nowadays the above “priorities” are blurred between classes, but in a lot of ways they still do define what makes someone successful in life over the year and who is bound to struggle.
What do I mean?
Well, over the past decade with the various friends I have had over the years the common thread amongst those that have become successful in their lives and their careers tend to have a mentality that is a combination of focusing on education and focusing on networking. Though, in all honesty networking is probably more prevalent in the long term over education.
If one were to read up on all the articles of those that have lost their jobs but found themselves in other jobs the most common thread was that they were able to find a new job / position via their contacts aka networking. Without said contacts and networking, the secondary way someone could find themselves in a new position is via studies, additional courses, degrees, certifications, etc.
However, when comparing the above to someone in let’s say the performing arts field, networking becomes the name of the game over building up one’s resume. Granted doing both would help the most, but without contacts one could only go so far.
Case in point… I know a fair number of people that are trying to create a more stable career in the performing arts realm. They are all incredibly talented in their own ways… but I tend to differentiate them between the smart talented ones and the dumb talented ones.
The smart talented ones are those friends of mine who not only keep up their talents, constantly evolving, constantly working on them, constantly creating private projects for themselves to show that they have evolved and learned and grew over times of not working in their field of choice… but any contacts they may have encountered over the years they have made a point of keeping an open line of communication for possibilities down the road. Not necessarily in the short term prospective project loads, but the long term as well.
As a result, they have more flexibility to move from their current day job to working full time in their industry of choice with minimal risk. Considering this is the performing arts realm that is saying a lot.
On the other hand the dumb talented ones are those that have had contacts within the industry of choice, but somehow lost touch with them, or haven’t made an effort to keep those lines of communication open for possibilities in the long term. As thus what was originally considered strong contacts, may not be so in times of need.
This is an extention of playing the social political game.
Can you tell I am big on networking?
At the end of the day, social networking is playing with politics… you have to be completely and totally open and sincere. You have to come in with an open mind and knowledge bank of data so you know when a contact is worthwhile to keep right off the top or when you just need to keep tabs for “just in case”.
What about those whose focus is on entertainment? Well… what else is there to say except that all they are looking for is an escape from their lives (even for a moment) and because of that is unable to really move or grow from their current position in life.
Now none of the above could be true in the grand scheme of things, after all this is just my observation from my decade of social studies. The common threads amongst everyone I know seems to be fairly consistent thus far so I do not see any reason for things to change that much more… but then again I could just be talking smoke and nothing is true.
Howevver, when networking it is also necessary to keep in mind the kind of persona you are emitting to the rest of the world… then again that is another post for another day.