Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Networking Zombies

I had a dream the other night. I am not going to say that it was inspired in any part by having just watched Zombieland for like the 5th time or that networking events by and large suck.  I am sure this is just coincidence.

I was somewhere at some networking function.  At first everything seemed normal.  I came in, grabbed a name badge and was immediately approached by a woman.  She thrust her business card with such veracity that I worried she may have just somehow obtained cardinal knowledge of my person. Her ginormous red overly made up lips parted and she said, "I'm Mary with XSPF Company and we are the leading providers of (insert product of crappy origin here). What do you do" she asked as momentarily paused to look at my name badge, " umm, Steve?"  I felt like she had just sized me up and I looked like a big old meaty steak.  Her eyes crawled all over my body and to be perfectly honest, I felt a little dirty all of a sudden.

I sheepishly looked at her card, then looked at her.  I was frozen and could not move.  She was waiting. Beads of sweat gathered on my forehead.  Before I could answer her, I realized she had moved closer, her breath smelled like a mix of cigarettes and butterscotch and her creepy boney hand was now reaching towards my shirt pocket.  She wanted my business card as she pawed me.  She wanted to know who I worked for and what I did.  She edged ever closer, "Honey you are here to network aren't you?"

Suddenly her poorly applied make-up started to run and her face became misshapen, she suddenly looked like the Bride of Chucky or maybe it was Courtney Love, I couldn't tell.  I looked up and suddenly realized that more of them were coming.  They slithered and hissed as they came from every corner of the place. The networking zombies had awoken and they smelled fresh meat.

One after another asked, "So what do you do?" as they sized me up.  I looked around for any escape route but there was none.  I was stuck in the middle of the room with mindless networking conversations with zombie after zombie and I suddenly realize this was to be my fate.  It wasn't fair! I had so much to offer.  Why did I come tonight?  Why did I put myself through this torture?  Why in the name of business hadn't I done something different?  Why hadn't I stuck with my original plan to build connections by Rippling?  What had gone so horribly wrong that I would end up here, amongst them?

Suddenly an alarm went off.  The zombies retreated.  I had been saved.  I looked to see what had drawn their attention from me, their captured scared prey, and then I saw it.  The free buffet full of powered eggs and rubber chicken was being served. It was their weakness and it was attracting all them like moths to a flame.  With their attention averted, I made my break for it and ran.  One tried to grab me at the door but I remembered the Karate Kid (the old school one) and what he and Mr. Miyagi had taught me. As he lurched for me I reared up and full on crane kicked his sorry whiny I need to sell you something or I am going to get fired butt to the curb. He crashed with a thunderous thud that only marginally got the attention of the now feasting on the free food zombies. It felt amazing I don't mind telling you.

As I burst through the doors out into the sunlight, I was just thankful to be alive.  I started yelling, "Never again! I will never be one of you!" defiantly at the doors which now contained the horrible creatures. Then all of a sudden I woke up.  I was at home. In my warm, comfortable bed. Safe and sound, far, far away from any horrible networking events full of unimaginative, smelly and socially retarded networking zombies.

I leaned over to kiss my wife and to my horror there laid the corpse of Courtney Love or Bride of Chucky, I couldn't be sure....dressed in a blood soaked outfit full of business cards and elevator speeches.


The moral:  Stay away from sucky networking events and the zombies who attend them or lest you may find yourself with a similar fate.

Ripple On!!!


Joey McGirr said...

Simply awesome! Remind me to bring my battle axe to the next event =)

Anonymous said...

This was so funny Steve! I shared this with about 20 colleagues. I think you should write more posts like this.


Anonymous said...

Bride of Chucky or Courtney Love. You almost made me pee my pants.

Sue Ann

Marcie Wilson said...

I have heard about you for years but haven't had the opportunity to see you speak live. I plan on coming to the Four Points Chamber luncheon this afternoon. Hope you don't mind a stalker.


Steve Harper aka Mr. Ripple said...

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Joey, I have an extra axe if you need it.

Bob, totally honored you would share my post!

Sue Ann - sorry, didn't realize I was that funny.

Marcie - all stalkers are welcome at my talks. Power Networkers on the other hand....not so much. Just kidding. Look forward to meeting you.

Ripple On Ya'll!

J T Guerrero said...

An excellent and humorous illustration of a shared experience that a lot of people can appreciate. I've been one of those that was "sized up" and "chomped on" only to be spit out because I wasn't the choice meat that evening. In my freelance days, I was not even considered a serious prospect because I was a "one-man" operation. Now, at my day job, I encounter some of the same people that dismissed me smooch up to me because I am in a position to assist them. I am sure you would agree with me, that it would not be beneficial to remind them of our previous encounter. As my father would say, "don't burn that bridge unless you don't ever want to cross it again..."