Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Recently, Ask Annie, Fortune magazine's career agony aunt column, has had some particularly pertinent snippets of advice for someone in my position. While I do read through most of the pieces she writes, I don't usually take anything away from them as I find them a little geared towards the American work environment to be of use to me. However, her most recent posts on getting an MBA if you've been laid off recently and job-hunting for introverts have struck a chord with me.

I have to admit that getting an MBA in order to ride out the recession is incredibly tempting. However, I've been putting off thinking about this seriously for a number of reasons. Firstly, I don't think I have the correct motivation. If I were to go into further studies, I would like to do it because it's something I'm interested in, not because it's something I fell into or was forced into because of extenuating circumstances. That being said, doing an MBA is better than prolonged unemployment, or taking a job which makes potential employers go "now what the heck happened there?"

In any case, I'm currently focussed on looking for a new job, although, given that most of the new jobs tend to be found via contacts as opposed to headhunters and job boards, being in a city where my network is not quite existent doesn't exactly help me any. Not to mention the fact that I feel I'm rather shy, and I just don't know how to network.

A person I met recently told me he didn't know that many people who distinguish between 'networking' and 'making friends' the way I did. For my part, I don't know many people who don't! I mean, I treat the former as 'getting to know people because they may one day be of use to me' while the latter's just... well, 'these guys seem like cool enough people to hang out with.' I wish I could reconcile the two as I recognise that the two could conceivably peacefully co-exist, but... yes, sometimes I feel as if I've separated what makes me such a strong individual outside of work and just dialled down all of that in any work environment that I don't know how to use or activate any of those qualities anymore.

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