mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Schmooze or lose....

I was at a baseball game a few days ago - my employer had reserved a party deck and given out free tickets - enjoying a beer and sort of watching the game (I'm not really a baseball person) when a coworker pointed to another recently promoted coworker, who was engaged in coversation with my organization's CIO. "If you ever want to get promoted, you need to be more like him and learn to schmooze". I mumbled something about how I thought hard work should be enough to get ahead, and my previously decent mood got a little less decent.

I'm not a social person. I'm not the kind of person who can walk up to a person I barely know and start making conversation. I don't think that my recently promoted coworker is some sort of scheming genius, worming his way into conversations in the hope that at some point they will help his career. Rather, he's the kind of outgoing person who that kind of thing comes naturally to. I'm not.

For the most part, I don't even really like talking to people - when I'm talking to someone I don't know well, making small talk, I often find myself thinking "what's the point of this conversation?" I mean, quite frankly, I don't really care what you are doing this weekend, nor do I really feel it's your business what I'm doing this weekend (probably because it involves myself, my couch, my TV, and a half gallon of Edy's Peanut Butter Cup slow-churned ice cream).

It probably doesn't help that I've been trying to get a management position, a job that generally relies on a certain amount of people skills. Interacting with people, especially people in power, would probably help me get that. You could even make the argument that it's an important qualification if you are going to be in a position that basically bridges the gap between top management and line workers.

There are a small group of friends and coworkers who I can be quite outgoing with. I think part of it comes from a set of shared experiences - I can relate to events in the past and know them well enough to know what I can talk about comfortably, what I can joke about and get a positive reaction. Plus, there is no worries that if I say the wrong thing, it would hurt my career instead of helping it.

I'm really not sure what to do - I'm starting to realize the role that politics and networking has on career advancement, and I'm not really sure how I can best deal with it. I've never been good at either, and I'm not sure if or how I can improve. If I can't, I have only two other options - resign myself to keeping the same job for the next 40 or so years until retirement, or switch careers - although I doubt I'll find a career that's any less requiring of schmoozing to move up.


At 9:56 AM, Blogger tralatrala said...

life coach


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