Fairness of Networking, Blog Themes, and Cannabis Effects

Dear Brian,
Is networking unfair?

Back in the days in socialist countries networking was everything. If you know the right people you have better house (or house at all), better car (or car at all), better food, job, healthcare and everything else.

This was consider immoral and even illegal since was very similar to corruption.

Now everywhere and everyone advice for networking – how is this different?

Its obvious that you may be good at networking, but bad at the job you pursued and still to get this job over someone who is better qualified, but with less connections.

You’re kinda mixing a few different things (nepotism, favoritism, etc.) but I get the general idea of what you’re asking.

Networking is an important part of business for a variety of reasons. Here are a couple of perspectives to consider:

I’m a freelancer, so my career is similar to an entrepreneur or sales rep. How I find paying clients works in several ways. I apply on job sites and pass my business card out at trade shows and other industry events where I personally introduce myself to people. If not for networking, I’d cut my business (and income) in half.

Now that I’ve been working at this same career for a few years, I’ve built up a reputation and have clients who recommend me to other people. When someone refers their friend to me for my services, should I turn down their money and a gig, instead telling them it’s more fair that they post their need on a site like Craigslist so everyone else can apply alongside me?

If I were a fast food restaurant, my clients would be people standing in line in front of my cash register. When someone orders a burger, should I ask how they heard about us, and if they say a friend referred them, should I then refuse them service to make things fair?

When I attend an industry event, I’m the one who took the initiative to register, travel to the event, prepare, and sell myself. I’m the one spending my time getting to know the people within the industry and working for an opportunity.

If someone needs a service I provide, and I’m the most convenient person to provide it, I get the business. How would you possibly think it’s fair for me to be at ground level, learning and working side-by-side with someone, and then they just randomly choose someone they’ve never met who’s only reading information online?

Without networking, how in the world do you think anyone would be able to locate what they need?

All sales (which is the lifeblood of all business) are based on networking.

As I’ve hopefully illustrated to you, no business can possibly survive without networking – in fact networking is the entire basis of the Internet you’re reading this on.

But the way you ask the question leads me to believe you’ve been passed over for some opportunity you believe went to someone less qualified than you because they’re friends with someone in management.

A corporate environment doesn’t work any different than the freelance or entrepreneurial environment – it’s still a necessary part of your job duties and career development to know how to interact with others within the company.

Anytime someone gets promoted, there’s always a grumble among a small percentage of employees about them not deserving that promotion. Perhaps instead of griping about it, ask your manager in your next one-on-one (you should be getting at least a quarterly and annual review, if not a monthly one) what you need to do in order to move up in the company.

When I worked in management (I was promoted from an associate) within corporate America, all we did during these meetings was try to prepare associates for success, and unfortunately many of them never bothered to apply.

The real world doesn’t work like school. You don’t just show up every day, do your job, and you’re magically promoted to the next level each year. You have to actually apply for it. You may be meeting every single goal at your company, but that doesn’t guarantee you anything. Even if you’re the top performer in your position, you’re likely to stay in your position until you apply.

Maybe you don’t get the promotion the first time you apply – ask your manager what you can do to improve your chances the next time. They’ll tell you how to get involved with special projects beyond your job duties. They’ll recommend training courses you can take.

They’ll tell you what they’re looking for and how they feel you fit into that mold, and if you take their criticism to heart instead of being offended, you’ll greatly increase your chances.

What you call networking is simply another form of advertising. It’s building your reputation with people so when they need something they know who to go to. The more you take on with a great attitude, the better your odds are of gaining from it.

If you’re not where you want to be in your career, you need to network. Not because it’ll get you a position over someone who’s more qualified, but because it’s the only way anyone will know you exist, much less that you’re qualified.

Any time you find yourself blaming networking, there’s a deeper issue you’re completely missing because you’re focusing on the wrong problem.

Dear Brian,
How much should I pay for a blog theme?

Nothing…Wordpress has a bunch of really good ones that are free. Stick to the free and learn how to program to create your own. Never pay for anything online unless you have to. As a general rule, if it’s online, it’s free somewhere…

Dear Brian,
Does the cannabis consumption affect your learning capacity?

Every blog I ever wrote online was written while I was under the influence of cannabis. This includes articles on Huffington Post, Fast Company, Intuit’s Small Business Resource, Gaiam, MindBodyGreen, Elephant Journal, Hardcore Droid, and more.

I’ve also appeared on both AM and FM radio, the BBC, HuffPost Live, and more…all while high on marijuana.

In fact, I was stoned when I pitched the stories, researched them, negotiated the contracts, and cashed the paychecks.

I was high when I attended conferences like E3, PAX Prime, CES, CTIA Super Mobility Week, Outdoor Retailer, and other professional conferences, where I met and worked with some of the most powerful leaders in a variety of industries.

To go further back, I was smoking weed while enrolled in AP Calculus, Physics, English, and other advanced placement and honors classes in high school. Didn’t stop me from achieving an A average either.

Smoking weed didn’t stop me from obtaining a full-ride scholarship from ASU, nor did it stop me from becoming an operations manager at one of the largest banks in the world.

People who tell you they’re not motivated to do anything while stoned were probably already inept and lazy. They probably don’t even know what strain of pot they smoked, nor whether it was an indica or sativa. To me, that’s more of a sign of their ineptitude than the effects of cannabis.

It’s entirely possible to experiment with drugs responsibly, and thousands do on a daily basis.

I do occasionally forget things, but other than that I’ve had absolutely no issues not only learning but finding myself in a career where I relay and teach information to others.

Anyone who tells you that you can’t learn while on cannabis (especially those too lazy to provide any real stats) are nothing more than haters who have trouble thinking outside the box.

Many of history’s greatest philosophers, entrepreneurs, and leaders smoked cannabis. Obama did, and he became President.

That being said, yes – any substance (including caffeine and sugar) does affect your brain’s growth, and using/abusing them before your brain is fully developed will have adverse affects.

You won’t, however, be left incapacitated. In fact, your creative and critical thinking skills will be enhanced by smoking a heady sativa. Many outdoor enthusiasts smoke sativas prior to climbing mountains, etc. Artists and musicians use sativas to inspire their work.

Cannabis has never stopped anyone I know from being successful. If you know a loser who uses cannabis, cannabis is not the reason they’re a loser.

Decide for yourself…

Brian Penny Red HatBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in Huffington Post, High Times, Fast Company, Main Street, Lifehack, and Hardcore Droid.

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Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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