Ain’t nothing but a party!
If you’re thinking about getting a better job, but find the process so overwhelming, that you keep putting it off, saying to yourself, “Right after Labor Day, sh*t gets real,” well, that’s one way (highly stressful) to do it, I guess. Me personally, if I keep putting stuff off, it ends up looming over me, till I can’t enjoy anything, and I’m forced to do what I was avoiding.
Instead of notching up the pressure, and thus, notching up the certainty of sabotaging yourself, what if you just got started here and now? But it’s summer, you say, what can I do over the summer, to better my chances of getting a job this fall? Why not throw an end-of-summer networking BBQ? Or, an end-of-summer networking cocktails party? Play an instrument? Have a music party, and invite other people to come jam with you. Have an end-of-summer gardening party, or charity event, or pool party! You can focus your party on people in your industry, or people in your area, or women-only, or veterans-only. Make the party work for you. Listen, the details don’t matter; gathering your fellow alumni together, and sparking conversations that could lead to job opportunities, that’s what matters. That’s why you’d do this.
If you’re in your 40s or 50s, why not have an end-of-summer networking party for people in your age group? That’s a great way to immediately make allies, since so many of us who aren’t 25, frequently feel slighted by alumni associations, seemingly only catering to the young people. Your party could reverse that trend, thus getting you a lot of attention.
Whatever demographic or event you plan, reach out to your alumni association and see if they’ll contribute some funds, or at least help you promote it. (Honestly, if you have a solid idea, and location and you’re willing to do the work of organizing the event, your alumni association will probably be thrilled.) Make the event BYOB, and potluck and BYOBC (Bring Your Own Business Card). At the very least, you should mention the party of your alumni association’s Facebook page, and give out your contact email so people can RSVP. You could create an event on Eventbrite, and if you’re feeling brave, tweet out details to your alumni association’s Twitter account, with some fun hashtags.
Before you start hyperventilating about what you’ll say and do at the party, oh simma down. Don’t overthink this. You’re just hosting a party to allow yourself to have some fun, and along the way, broaden your network. Maybe 5 people will come, maybe 500. The point is, by virtue of throwing this party, you’re choosing to empower yourself and give your ambitions some room to flourish. You’re worrying about what you’ll do or say, but to your guests, because you’ve had the moxie to host this party, suddenly you’re the Man with the Plan. You’re the boss, kid.
Ideally, you’ll meet some smart people, and those conversations with lead to other conversations, but, absolutely worse case scenario, you meet no one at this party who can help your ambitions…at least you tried. Maybe “all” that happens is that you have some fun, blow off some steam and gain some perspective on the process of job-hunting. Don’t knock that perspective kid; perspective and a good attitude is what will keep your job search on track, when others give up. Maybe “all” that will happen is you’ll realize how silly it was to be afraid to network, and you’ll run for Events Planner on the board of your alumni association, and start hosting more events, and at one of those events, you’ll meet someone who works at a company you’d kill to work for, and they’re as impressed by you, as you are by them. This is how adults change their lives: one small step, leading to other small steps, ending up with huge results.
I’m just reminding you of what you already know. You can choose to waste these final days of summer, procrastinating, hemming and hawing, and driving yourself crazy with your fears…or you can allow yourself to have some fun, and create the opportunities you need tomorrow, with the tools you have at hand today.
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