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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Increasingly I understand that life, all life, is about relationships...relationships or lack thereof. These relationships determine where and how we live, the jobs we get, the people we date, the movies we like, the music we listen to...etc.  You go to college, for example, as much as for what you are going to learn there, as for whom you will have the opportunity to meet. You check out your friend's friends on Facebook to see who looks interesting. The barista at your local Starbucks knows you, so your coffee comes quicker, made just how you like it. Your friends tell you about a film they saw, and you add it to your Netflix queue. You're unemployed, you tell enough friends, eventually someone knows someone who knows of something...So, relationships rule our lives. And yet.
(And this is what drives the yenta of my soul insane.) And yet, in 2011: there are still people who seem to feel that networking, that using these relationships is optional. There are people on LinkedIn with no photo, or a photo taken at some body's wedding, who have profiles with huge, what? Some of these people are employed, to which I say: so what? You, especially you with a job, this is the perfect time to network, to stay on top of developments in your field, to sharpen your skills, to meet the people who matter. You have a job, the pressure's (kinda) off. You want to know and impress those dynamic people, to have those skills so that when you need them, you're set: you have a relationship with them. When you're unemployed, it is much harder. When you're unemployed, people tend to be kind of suspicious.
This goes double for artists, god bless them, who seem to think they exist in some alternate universe. Well, that alternate universe of grants and funding is going, going, gone, so yes: YOU MUST ALSO NETWORK.
Example: how did I get my agent? What a good question, thank you for asking. My theater teacher from high school introduced me to a fantastic woman in the NYC theater scene, who introduced me to another playwright, who happened to mention the woman who had been my dramaturg when my play was first on Broadway...who had grown up to be a very big agent. (
Mark Zuckerberg made cash money off of Facebook...why? Because it's human nature to want to connect, to want to know what your friends are doing...and yes, to brag about much hotter your man is, than your friends' boyfriends, not that it's a competition, but you won. The influence of social media on oh I don't know, Earth, should demonstrate that fact every second of every day. So if you're not taking advantage and building these relationships...when did you become a Luddite?

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