Thursday, March 19, 2009

Networking, a necessary evil!

While we are going gung-ho drumming the beat of this new found Networking idea, I was wondering about the famous quote "man is a social animal” that Aristotle gave us about centuries ago. Man by nature cannot work in isolation, the reward for their hard work and attaining a prominence in their social stature are the recognition they thrive on. In recent times, the similar thought and philosophy has taken a totally new dimension called “Networking” as the new age mantra.

This so called new age mantra, however, that has emerged as a key technique in modern sociology for success in professional or interpersonal relationships dates its origin back to good old ancient days. During the time of our forefathers before the invention of media or internet people would naturally meet or connect with each other to get things done. Local groups and meetings were formed for exchanging views and ideas and to make sure that they are able to help each other out. However, over a period of time, this noble and need based theory turned into making only powerful and influential connections to meet their own selfish ends at the cost of plundering on someone else’s rights eventually taking a corrupt form in the society called favoritism and nepotism. Merit started taking a back seat. You just needed to suck up to somebody for your own purposes. The obvious losers were the ones who didn’t learn this art and just believed in doing the work honestly and diligently. In countries like India this phenomena has taken a corrupt form in the society. Without the right connections rather political connections, its hard to find your way through the maze. One is pushed back far behind in the queue even for the most genuine situations like getting treatments and finding a good doctor!You have to be a big shot and know some top bureaucrats to be able to get the best treatment possible. After all isn't their health more important than any common man on the street!

In recent times, when networking is so heavily propagated as the most effective alliance building solution in hopes of landing a job through referrals or connections, I sometimes tend to fear that it may end up turning into favoritism and become unfair to those who are not so socially active due to many reasons - especially women who are single moms or have small kids, or may be because of their own volition, but are working toward building on their skills and doing the quality work. They may end up getting lost despite being the most deserving candidate and may not find the right opportunity because they didn’t know the people inside. This is true in present scenario more so because it’s such a difficult time economically and people are desperate!

I am not against the idea of networking per se, I personally relish the different perspectives and enjoy getting involved in intellectually stimulating conversations. What bothers me is the fact that it has solely been propagated as a job finding solution in the present scenario. “Go out there, meet the right kind of people and become visible” renders it a negative connotation sometimes. If the ulterior motive behind joining any organization or meeting someone new is merely to find a job then the basic purpose of learning and growing doesn’t quite make sense. Merit shouldn’t go a total waste just because some people didn’t learn the art of sucking up to people. A post I read on linked-in  had some concerned writers wondering if it was ok to write something in the lighter mood or not so professional on their blog site or bio page, as potential employers may be looking!

The term “Networking” has a meaningful and broader horizon. Mentoring, helping each other out,trying to create more opportunities, growing and building on our strengths are some of them. Making it a personal marketing tool or rendering it a platform for merely landing a job makes it very limiting and constricting n scope. I personally like to get involved with communities and local chapters and volunteer for meaningful projects, but that’s because I like doing that. It's all about the nature and personality of people. Some people like to do things silently and some out loud.
Difference is; we don’t hear the silence and they go unappreciated!


Tubal Rabbi Cain said...

Thought Provoking theme certainly Lyoti.

Sourabh said...

very true....networking is required at every step of life....good selection of topic....keep writing.....:)

aasim said...

makes sense in a technical set up; but in a managerial space - where one is understanding and acting upon human behaviour, it is quite a decent proxy & prerequisite for how gud one is in their job; u cud say it is a necessary evil