Hello-Where Do You Work?
Who are you as a person to run me through some financial projection or determine my validity or importance for your own purposes? What does it matter where I work when I’m engaging in genuine conversation? Who are you that I need to share my credentials with someone who is nothing to me? What if I don’t have a job and/or degrees, is my soul and well-being now insignificant in the world? The questions you ask people upon slight meeting reveal more about what you value and not the other person. We are in a society where people are dying every day and committing suicide and all people can do is run around trying to use people for their own benefit. Sad.
Danielle Wells provided a guide regarding how to network naturally. The first two principles, of the eight provided are listed below:
Principle #1: Successful networkers are relationship-based, not transaction-based. Networking requires an investment in time and effort to create long-term relationships.
Principle #2: Successful networkers have a genuine interest in people, as people. They see past an impressive title, powerful position, or profitable business opportunity and spend time getting to know the whole person from that person’s interests outside of work to what books she likes to read to who she is as a parent.
Offensive networking practices, in a social setting, include meeting someone for the first time and spewing out the following three questions:
- What do you do for a living?
- Where do you work?
- Do you live around here?
While people will claim this is just networking and common practice it is highly offensive to some people, myself included. Any social etiquette class would teach such conversation is intrusive and inappropriate. Now if you are in a network setting then there are some exceptions to this rule but this line of immediate questions as if someone needs to qualify for conversation can be extremely offensive. Different states have different social norms when it comes to interaction and find that while most people might eventually inquire about what field you are in, in some regions it appears to be perfectly normal to ask a perfect stranger personal questions about their life and feel insulted if you don’t want to reveal your entire business to a random stranger. What does where I work have to do with me saying hello in line at Macy’s?
True networking is about relationship building and making a genuine connection with another person. Now if down the line there is an opportunity to assist each other or mutual benefit that would be the goal. I've encountered a situation where I could have helped someone with employment but because that person didn't want to engage or interact with me until discovering the company I worked for, my position through others, my education I chose not to do so. On several occasions I had attempted to speak with this individual and talk to them while sharing a mutual interest and they would end the conversation quickly and not be bothered. Once researching me through others, this person then decided to begin talking and asking questions about my employment. It was a turn off. This goes back to the first principle of networking-relationship based not transactional.
Are you offended?
Are you offended when upon first meeting someone they ask you where you work/live/your social security number?
We live in a society where identity theft is prevalent. We live in a society of charlatans today. Do I want to tell all my information to the person using my card for a dinner transaction while revealing my credentials, place of employment, and lingering while carefully reading my driver’s license?
Besides, how do I know what you are revealing about yourself is true. Just because you are smiling in my face “selling yourself” doesn’t mean I’m sold. Recommending people for jobs ties in to your reputation at work. If transactional interaction is your goal and it works for you kudos to you. While we can meet people all the time doesn’t mean you really know that person. Just because I work for a company doesn’t mean I’m going to recommend you for a job because you are smiling in my face now that you feel you can use me for an opportunity. A relationship has not been established for me to determine your work ethic, behavior, commitment to endeavors, or your criminal history.
- What's the first question you ask after meeting someone?
At its core, the question we’re asking after we say “hello!” is the method we’re choosing to connect with the person we’re speaking to.