On Looking Over Your Shoulder

Since starting my new job almost two years ago, I’ve gone to a smattering of various forms of the work event with alcohol and important people. There’s something that happens at every single one of these events that really gets under my skin.

I will be in the middle of (what I think is) a good conversation with a new acquaintance and instead of looking at me or actually engaging in conversation in any sort of meaningful, human way, they will look around the room for someone else they could be talking to.

I get it. When you’re at a work event, you’re sort of on a mission to talk to, and connect with the most important people there. Both to expand your own professional network and further the goals of your organization. I also get that at this point in my life I’m pretty low on the professional totem pole. I’m only twenty-five and I look even younger. Do not take this as false modesty when I say I’m a nobody at these things.

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But, you know what else? I think I’m a pretty cool person.

I’m friendly (especially one G and T in). I dress well. I don’t smell. I’m a good conversationalist. I think I’m pretty freaking nice and generally “good” at parties. Sure, I’m not the person to talk to to get your think tank funded, connect you to top political consultants, or get your oped placed in the The New York Times.

But I will be someday.

And when I am, I want to be the kind of person that talks to the communications assistant the same way I talk to the hedge fund manager. Life’s too short to constantly look over your shoulder for something better.