Recently graduated and unemployed, Sam Biddle ponders networking:
I suppose the crassness of it bothers me. But I'm not naive--I know that getting ahead requires the killer instinct, the Will to Handshake. I'm not afraid to be cutthroat to find work that I want. I'm cynical enough. I can be coldhearted. I registered online for a Bolt Bus account not for the convenience, but just so that I could board before the rest of the line and see the looks on their faces. But to feign a jolly round of schmoozing and winking that underlies asking-but-not-asking for a job--is this all there is? Would it really be so taxing on the self to just call networking bald, shameless self-interest? Ethical egoism has a long, proud history here--nobody should be afraid.
I couldn't even attend most networking events--are those even real things? I don't even know what a 'derivative' is, no matter how many times L___ patiently explains. Are there networking events for people like me? I've sent pleading emails to editors and staffers of publications I enjoy, throwing myself at them. I will do anything for you. I will fact check. I will answer phones. I will sort a pack of Skittles into the different colors. I will blow compressed air onto your dirty keyboard. I will blow compressed air down your pants. Do real writers network? If so, is it secret? I imagine a vaulted loft, a hushed password, an iron door. Inside bloggers and columnists in ocher robes exchange login info and freelance gigs, pausing to make paper mâche masks with strips of old Times Literary Supplement issues. Can I come?
The gathering is actually on David Remnick's rooftop lounge, and the assembled writers sit around reading the work Joseph Mitchell did in the last several decades of his career, after he decided that he no longer cared to write for the general public.
The prose are sublime.