I have never been to a networking event.
There. I said it.
I’ve been a lawyer for two years now & I haven’t gone to a happy hour or a softball game or an alumni event or a bar association conference.
Nope, not once.
That Thomas-like streak of silence is about to end, as I’m going to an alumnae event this week. And I’m kinda nervous! Will I know anyone? What should I wear? Will I be the most junior lawyer there? Will I embarrass myself?
Goodness! … This is part of the reason why I run home every day directly after work. But I realize that I should prioritize networking more. (I’ve been telling myself that for 2 years but reading Lean In has me convinced I need to really start!) I don’t foresee myself attending every possible event under the sun now that I’m getting my feet wet, but I realize I could do to find some mentorship and contacts outside of my place of work.
This is hard because all I really want to do is run home & have dinner with my family. It’s so easy & tempting … and it’s been my M.O. for 2 years & running: Do my job, do it well, go home, the rest will fall into place.
But deep down I’ve known I was telling myself a lie. Sheryl Sandberg has confirmed for me that I’ve been operating under a delusional concept of meritocracy. (More on Ms. Sandberg’s book another day.) So it’s time to buck up & take the reins.
I think to myself that I’m lucky that T is old enough to understand me when I tell him I have something important to do after work & will see him at bedtime. … But really, I’m just falling prey to the same mommy guilt trap I’ve been railing against for years now!
It would have been ok if he was two, just as it was ok when I left him for moot court practice when he was an infant. (See my previous post for more on my thoughts on why age doesn’t really matter for a mother’s leave-takings.)
So I’m going to my alumni networking event. I may hate it; I may love it. But either way, I know I’m taking a positive step for my career. And I’m going guilt-free!