I Don’t Get Networking

I Don't Get NetworkingI Don’t Get Networking

I’ve recently read a book about networking and I’ve heard about it for years, but, I don’t get it.

I’m an introverted person. When I hear the word “networking,” I think about going up to complete strangers and bragging about yourself in hopes that said stranger will give you a job, or by your product, or whatever. It all sounds like a lot of uncomfortable talk to me. I don’t like bragging about myself. What are you supposed to do after that introduction anyway?

People at a networking event:

Hi, I’m Bob. I work at Logistics Corporation in finance.

Hi, Bob, I’m John, I work at Logix Corporation in data processing.

What are you supposed to say next?

How’s the finance world? How’s data processing? Do you like data processing? Can you tell me the history of data processing?

I mean, really, what in the heck are you supposed to say to a person after you have pretty much walked up to them and pulled your Ace out of your sleeve?

I could certainly walk up to someone and say, ” Hello, my name is Ashe Arterberry. I have two bachelor’s degrees–one in Fine Arts with an emphasis in technology and mass production of images(printmaking) and one in Information Technology. I have CompTIA A+, Network +, and Security + certifications. I can program in HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQUERY, and Cold Fusion. I know both SQL and MySQL. I can manage databases. I can create websites. I can manage Microsoft networks. I can terminate internet cables. I am well-versed in many art forms. I can produce photography and also excellent hand drawings. I can create sewing patterns. I’m an excellent cook. I can play the piano very well. I’m classically trained to sing. I’m an excellent problem solver. I’m also excellent at creating solutions to those problems I solved. I can teach you classes on how to do just about anything. I have technical writing experience. I can take large amounts of data and simplify it in a manner that anyone can understand. I also know English, very well, and I’m not terrible at Spanish. I read over a hundred and eleven books every year. I’ve written thousands of pages on many books and fairy tales. I’m also pretty good-looking.”

So I can go up to someone and spew all of that out, but isn’t that weird? Why would the somebody else care? I don’t even say all of that stuff when I go for a job interview. I think it’s pretty darn impressive, but it would be really weird if I just went up to someone and vomited that information out. What’s even weirder to me is a bunch of people in the same place doing the same thing.

I forgot to add that I’m pretty good at Scrabble to that list.

The concept of going up to someone else and talking about how important you supposedly are, has always seemed as dishonest to me, or rather, lacking in character. It goes against the idea of being humble. Yeah, I’m awesome, but I don’t have to go say it to everyone I meet. I don’t need to go to some “networking meeting” and tell everyone there I’m awesome, especially when they’re all trying to tell me that they’re awesome. I don’t particularly care that they’re saying they’re awesome and I’m sure they don’t particularly care about me saying I’m awesome. It all seems like a big farce.

It shouldn’t matter what you can say about yourself; it should matter what you can do. If I can do these wonderful things, my work should speak for itself. Conversations about my merit should really be something like, “Hi, my name is Ashe Arterberry, let me show you what I can do.” If my work is up to snuff, then I should be hired, or collaborated with, or whatever the case may be.

My whole misunderstanding of networking is also compounded by the fact that in my personal experience people who are good at networking, are simply good at schmoozing, and while that may be great for that aspect of life, they can’t actually back up all their schmoozing. They’re like professionals at going up to other people and bragging about the things they can do, but if you actually looked at their results, it wouldn’t be that impressive. They think the end-all is knowing how to talk the talk. In reality, I think it’s better to know how to walk the walk, if you had to choose.

In my personal experience, I have always gotten to do something based on my merit, rather than because I “knew someone.” Knowing someone has never gotten me a job or a big opportunity. Being good at what I can do is what has gotten me advantages in life.

So in the end, I’m still very confused about networking.

Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him…

Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him...Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him…

I recently read this awful book. I went on about it, at length, on my main site. It was one woman’s perspective about marriage and kids,–all about what God wants. To sum the whole thing up–if you’re a woman, you’re meant to stay at home, having babies, and letting your husband make all the decisions, because he’s the man. Women were made to serve men after all. As if that wasn’t infuriating enough, this woman, has the gall to suggest that if you’re in an abusive relationship, you may have to distance yourself physically because of danger, but you’re still supposed to respect your husband and maintain a relationship with him, because God can change any man.

Look, can God change any man? Well, yes, certainly. If God can create universes, God can change your abusive husband’s heart.

Here’s the thing, just because God can do something, doesn’t mean he’s going to do it. It’s not that God isn’t sympathetic to the fact that your abusive husband is being a jerk and, quite frankly, acting against the things God wants by mistreating another one of his creations; it’s the fact that your abusive husband, no matter how abusive, or how bad, is an autonomous being.

People were given brains so they could think for themselves. God, or whatever higher power you believe in, gave people brains so they could learn about the world and then decide how to act based on their knowledge. Generally, God doesn’t go around forcing people to think and behave in certain manners. We are allowed to think or behave however we want as long as we’re willing to pay whatever consequences there may be.

Let’s say your husband is really abusive; let’s make up a hypothetical guy. Let’s call him Ted. Ted is a real dick. Maybe he’s physically abusive. Maybe he’s mentally abusive. Maybe he’s both. He treats you like dirt. He treats you like you’re not a person. He tries to convince you that you’re crazy. Everything is your fault. All his problems are because of you. You’re stupid and you don’t know how to do anything. He’s the man and he knows more about everything that you. A little slap every now and then is warranted because you were making him angry. If this sounds familiar in your personal experience, I do apologize.

Let’s say you are religious. You pray to God about Ted. Please God, please let Ted stop trying to convince me that I’m crazy. Please God, I’m terribly depressed, please get Ted to stop. Dear God, please don’t let Ted hit me again.

It’s not that God doesn’t hear your prayers, because he does. In fact, they probably depress him a great deal. One of his children, is treating another one of his children in a terrible manner, in a relationship that is supposed to be the most important relationship on Earth, and beyond, to both of them.

We have to get back around to this Ted is his own person thing. Ted can make his own choices. Let’s say God hears your prayers and he decides to send realizations and good thoughts to Ted. Does this mean Ted is going to stop being a dick? Nope, well, chances are, no, but there is also a chance it will work.

Here’s the thing, for this whole thing to actually work, Ted has to accept the help from God. Ted has to accept these good thoughts, or good vibes, or whatever it is. Ted has to want to accept these things. They’re not going to be forced upon him, most likely. I only know of one scriptural story about a man forced to change mentally by God. So the chances of God forcing Ted to be a better husband are not good.

There are several things that make this process more complicated. Maybe God is sending out a ton of life changing vibes to Ted. Maybe Ted doesn’t want them. Maybe Ted realizes what he is doing is wrong, but he doesn’t care, and therefore will not accept any promptings from God on the subject of changing.

Maybe, Ted is so utterly screwed up that he doesn’t realize he’s doing anything wrong. The fact of the matter is to correct a wrong behavior, someone first has to admit that they’re wrong. If you’re a heroin addict, you have to admit you’re a heroin addict. If you’re an alcoholic, you have to admit you’re an alcoholic. If you’re an abuser and you want to change, you have to admit that you’ve been abusive.

Ted may be so high and mighty with his opinions, that he would never allow the thought that he is wrong to even enter his head.

So here is God, sending all these life-changing promptings to Ted, and he’s over there either ignoring them, or not realizing they exist because Ted is Ted and he’s always right, right?

Is Ted going to change if either of these scenarios are the case?

No!

Granted, maybe Ted does allow these promptings from God into his life. Maybe Ted says, “Oh man! I’m abusing my wife! I’ve got to stop. She’s a person. She deserves respect. She deserves love.”

This one is the least likely. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, it’s that how this usually works is that abusers keep on being abusers; they just might mellow out a little as they get older, but they’re still abusers. Maybe they quit beating you after age fifty, but the mental abuse is still good and strong.

If you believe that God loves you, you should also believe that God wants you to be happy and safe. If physical and mental abuse from a spouse has gotten so bad that you’re coming close to being killed, or killing yourself because you can’t take the mental abuse anymore, this is not something God wants. God does not want you to stay with a person who has hardened their heart to your extreme detriment.

What can Ted’s wife do?

Ted’s wife can stay in the abuse and end up a battered shadow of herself, possibly committing suicide because she can’t take it anymore.

Ted’s wife can leave Ted. Ted’s wife can get a divorce. Ted’s wife can go find herself a man who knows how to treat women like people.

Maybe Ted will realize he’s wrong and stop his terrible behavior, but how long is Ted’s wife supposed to wait for this to happen? A year? Two years? Five? Ten? Twenty? Until she’s dead? Is she supposed to wait until Ted is resurrected?

Ultimately, it’s a decision that a woman would have to make with much thought, and prayer, if you’re a praying person.

Before taking some terrible advice from a supposed Christian woman who wrote a book, it’s better to use your brain, which God gave you, to make a choice that benefits you the most physically, spiritually, and mentally.

You’re Holding a Chicken

You're Holding a ChickenYou’re Holding a Chicken

Look, we all love the taste of chicken, but that’s not what this is about. I’m actually lovingly calling this chicken theory. Well, what’s chicken theory? I made it up, so it hasn’t existed before, unless there is some other official theory about chickens, perhaps about the chicken and the egg. This theory isn’t actually about chickens, the chickens are just metaphors, object lessons.

This theory is about problems that are only problems because society says they’re problems. We’re not talking about littering, global warming, corrupt politics, people without enough food, abuse of government systems, or disease epidemics, which are all very real problems, we’re talking about problems people have for no other apparent reason than society has deemed it a problem. Society has said, “I don’t like the way your nose looks,” so from that point forward society has it out for you and your nose, when there is nothing wrong with your nose at all. It’s actually a non-issue.

Imagine you’re just standing there one day and Society comes up to you and hands you a chicken. What are you supposed to do with this chicken? So you’re standing there holding this chicken, not sure about what to do next, when Society looks at you and starts making fun of you because you’re holding a chicken. Maybe you ask why you’re being made fun of for holding a chicken, and Society replies, “Just because.” Maybe you ask why again, and you get, “Because I said so.”

So you have this chicken and more of Society starts making fun of you for it. Some of them ignore you because you have the chicken. Some of them are downright mean to you because you have the chicken. Maybe you start losing out on opportunities because you have the chicken. Maybe you didn’t get a job, because you were holding a chicken. In real life it would honestly be a bit strange if you showed up to a job interview with a chicken, but we’re talking metaphors, not real life.

People start overlooking you, and marginalizing you, and saying mean things about you on the internet because you have this chicken.

Finally, you’ve had it with this damn chicken and you decide that you’re going to put it down. Well, the thing is–Society Superglued this chicken to your hand. You can’t put it down. You can’t get rid of this chicken.

You realize that you’re stuck with this chicken because Society Superglued it to your hand, so you try to make the best of it. You try to live your best life, despite the fact that you have a squawking chicken Superglued to your hand. As you can imagine, it’s not easy. Not only does Society make fun of you, belittle you, and discriminate against you because you’re holding a chicken, it’s also difficult to go throughout every day life with a chicken glued to your hand.

Putting on clothes is not easy. You have to fit an entire chicken through your jacket sleeve, which is no easy feat. It’s hard to open doors because you have a chicken glued to your hand. It’s difficult to drive. The chicken is noisy. You have to feed it. Sometimes it’s difficult to fit places because you always have to keep in mind that you have a flailing chicken glued to your hand.

A reasonable person would assume that since Society gave you this chicken that it should make accommodations for you in order for you to live a normal life. That’s not the case. In fact, Society has seemingly gone out of its way to make life more difficult for you because you have the chicken. There are places you’re not allowed to go because you have the chicken. There are things you’re not allowed to do because you have the chicken. There are jobs you cannot get because you have the chicken. Don’t even get started with the airlines because they don’t like chickens at all. Everyday, you go out and try to be normal, but people talk about you and your chicken loudly. It’s getting pretty depressing. You feel defeated.

No matter who you ask, you always get the same answer about the chicken, “Just because.”

Why did you glue this chicken to my hand?

Just because.

You know life would be so much better if you didn’t have to deal with the stupid chicken. You would think you could just put it down, but Society has made that impossible. No one will take the chicken away from you. Once you have the chicken, you have the chicken. Maybe you try to disguise the chicken with on point makeup tutorials from YouTube. Maybe you knit sweaters for it. Maybe you make a cover to throw over your chicken hand, but everyone still knows there’s a chicken under there.

Are you actually supposed to live your entire life with this chicken on your hand, which causes a multitude of problems in your life, knowing that if the chicken was just unstuck from your hand with some solvent that you could live a normal life?

Well, Society expects you to. You better not even think about taking that chicken off your hand. The minute it’s off, Society will come back with another chicken to take its place, maybe two chickens.

The entirety of Society isn’t awful. There are actually some people who don’t mind your chicken. Maybe they have chickens of their own to deal with, or maybe they’re just that accepting. People who have chickens on their hands will definitely bond more readily than people without chickens on their hands, but there is always the off-chance that for a person with a chicken on their hand to feel the least bit better about themselves, they’ll put you down for having a chicken on your hand. Maybe it’s the same type of chicken, or maybe it’s a different type of chicken, either way, they’re all still chickens.

Alright, let’s get down to it, what do the chickens symbolize? The chickens are problems you have in your life that aren’t real problems, or shouldn’t be, rather, that are huge problems in your life because Society said they were problems.

What kind of problems? Maybe you’re overweight. Maybe you’re a child of a lesbian couple. Maybe you’re missing a leg. Maybe you have really bad adult acne. Maybe you have a beard and you’re a woman. Maybe you’re a Quaker. Maybe you’re from the South. Maybe you’re not white. Maybe you’re not a man. There are so many things the maybe could be.

If you really get down to it–should any of these things matter? Should any single one of these things, or a combination of these things, matter as far as your worth and value to Society? Does being a bearded woman make you any less good at what you do at work? Does being from the South mean your life is worth less? Does being a Quaker mean that you shouldn’t get to participate in societal activities? Do any of these things mean you should be shunned by society? Do any of these things mean that you should be made fun of? Do any of these things mean that you should have less rights?

No. No, and more no.

These things are all superficial to your worth as a person and your worth to Society, but yet, Society makes a huge deal out of these things. Society actually gets downright angry about some of these things. If you’re the overweight, Quaker child of a lesbian couple, from the South, you better just turn your tail around and sign out of Society, because it’s going to be Hell. Plus that’s at least four chickens, so you’re going to need plenty of chicken feed and you’ve got to get to the feed store before it closes.

It’s almost laughable that Society expends so much energy in trying to discriminate against people, for whatever reason. Good Lord, if that energy had been concentrated elsewhere, we would have already solved world peace, world hunger, and time travel. Heck, if Society suddenly decided that these things weren’t actually problems and detrimental qualities, that would actually solve a huge amount of strife in the world.

Just think about it. Are some of the problems you have in your life chicken problems?

If Society suddenly thought that your problem wasn’t a problem, how much easier would your life get?

Thinking of your problem, is there any actual reason that it’s an actual problem or do people just say, “Just because,” with poorly cited sources and arguments?