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Anti-Networking: The Ghosts That Haunt You

February 11, 2008

I was witness to a remarkable conversation today: someone lost an opportunity to have dinner with someone else in an industry who will be visiting Savannah. Which industry is immaterial to the point.

The person who lost this opportunity has no idea that this event was even a possibility for them, but due to something they’d done previously which was remembered by yet another person in the conversation, their future changed right there on the spot. Someone else will partake in this dinner instead, meet the industry person and probably garner a job out of the deal. It was, after all, the point of the dinner.

Why the second guess on this person? That was most curious to me. Was it bitterness? A resentment? Neither. It was image, and it was fear. The person was viewed as a bit of a loose cannon and despite their talents, those in a position to recommend the person moved on to someone else. That person is out there tonight with no idea that their future was just changed by their past.

What made this particularly ironic was that Darius Kazemi had just spoken to students here on networking and the importance of those you know.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Preston permalink
    February 11, 2008 10:21 pm

    Why not tell that person that they have just missed such an opportunity? You may be doing them a great favor if they are unaware of how their behavior effects others. I know I have said things that I thought were perfectly innocent that others have been offended by.

  2. February 12, 2008 12:30 am

    Isn’t it said that you have about 5 opportunities in life to substantially change your path in life? Be constantly aware of your situations. There went one of those life changes. DOH! Not good…

  3. February 12, 2008 2:27 am

    Not what you know, but who you know. Just more evidence.

  4. gmunster permalink
    February 12, 2008 3:16 am

    Wow, that’s crazy. Hah, as if I don’t have enough anxiety about networking at GDC! But I’ll do it! And I know what you’re talking about because I’ve met people like that who I wouldn’t recommend, if the opportunity arose just because they seem very….off, I think would be the right word. I think its an important lesson to really try to think about how you come off to other people, especially in industries like these.

  5. Afello permalink
    February 12, 2008 6:41 am

    In telling the person about missing a great opportunity lies the risk of making the person feeling attacked at the personality he/she is. Beside this, he will probably feel depressed like hell by knowing what magic busride he missed. But on the other hand it could be a personal learning moment. Tough…

    I know that networking in this business is very important, just like every other creative business, whether it’s music, fine-arts or cinema par example. On the other hand I think that staying true to the things you want and being just the way you are is also a good advice for life. You can’t keep adjusting to others peoples wishes all the time right? You’ll become known as a bootlicker. (Although I don’t mean you shouldn’t be open for learning and positive change!) Maybe a possibility that this goes for this loose canon?

    It would be highly interesting to know exactly what you mean by “loose canon”. Small chance you can share this without revealing the identity of said person….

    Stories like this always strike me with doubt about choices I’ve made in the past.

  6. February 12, 2008 7:02 am

    From what I gathered regarding the “loose cannon” – it wasn’t so much a question of a quirky personality which many, many of us in creative fields share, but rather the person’s repeated unprofessional response to a stressful situations. In particular, when anything went wrong, the person would not accept their responsibility in that. Have you ever met someone who was proud to be a jerk? I think that’s the case here.

  7. Afello permalink
    February 12, 2008 8:31 am

    Well, that’s a boomerang. Goes to show that working hard and being honest and fair are great aspects to have as a person and a great loss if you don’t practice these good!

  8. David permalink
    February 20, 2008 5:03 pm

    For some reason this reminds me of a time on Yahoo! IM, chatting with one of the big guys in the FPS genre, and at first it was general adoration on my part, as that genre is my thing – until we disagreed. We disagreed on a specific game (the game in question is often a divide between myself and others, it is exceptionally popular) and I had the question of, do I stand beside my design guns and argue my point, or yield to the industry giant with whom I am seeking a job from?

    Ultimately I compromised the two and said I disagreed with him strongly, but wasn’t interested in arguing. Regarding the job, I didn’t get it, but the rejection came from the middle management not being interested in working with someone as inexperienced as I. It was for the best, the rejection catalyzed the beginnings of my now very detailed and very promising design document for my own FPS, of which it has inspired a handful of people enough to where a new engine is being coded from the ground up for it (and looking pretty good thus far, just under Unreal3 level tech). Besides, I discovered the salary for the job, in its location, would’ve had me investing literally 50% of my money to housing alone (not counting utilities) which is a sharp spike from my 30% in the current situation.

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