Friday, January 15, 2016

The urge to invade

I was at a networking event, a happy hour, out in RTP yesterday evening and I saw a young woman standing alone.  Mid-20s, African-American, hipster, a couple of extra pounds, holding a beer. I knew she wasn't likely to become a client, and that's why I was there, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to say hello. She looked so lonely.

Turned out she was looking for her next gig, had some science credentials and some technical chops, but didn't really have the job she wanted.  We talked for a little while, exchanged cards.  I thought of a neighbor with whom I might connect her and told her to ping me on LinkedIn.

Then I went and sat down to talk to some white guys with grey hair. A more likely audience for a guy like me. Turns out one of those guys was an advisor himself, a colleague of my boy Riguz.  As I was bonding with these members of my tribe, I looked back up at the black youngster. She was sitting alone, slumping, disheartened.

Today I was processing my cards from last night and I looked her up on LinkedIn. Turns out, she went to an Ivy League school. I had to resist the temptation to call her up, ask her to send me her resume, and then forward it to my neighbor.

But where does this intercessory impulse come from? In general, there's really nothing better than hooking someone up with a job. I love doing it like little else. I suspect I saw a little of myself in her. When I was her age, I was much more fucked up, much less functional than her even. I wouldn't even have gone to an event like that, and if I had gone, I would have been pounding the free beer and trying to get up with a young lady or another.

Certainly I hadn't done anything whatsoever to make myself marketable to an employer. That was beneath me.  I so wish somebody had been able to pierce my shell at that age and guide me towards reasonable employment.  Lord knows my mom tried, I just wasn't ready, for a variety of reasons.

So yes, I want to nanny this nice young woman.

When what I really need to be doing is finding clients.

This is what I think of as my Rip Van Winkle instinct. Attentive readers will recall that what got old Rip banished from his household was his tendency to help his neighbors with their household projects, and not do jack around his own house. So he went on top of a mountain and slept for 20 years.

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