Networking Olympics-style

February 20, 2010

Before I became an Olympics booster this week, I had vowed to stay out of downtown the entire Olympic period, other than must-do work meetings and the hockey game to which we have tickets on Sunday.

But then the Board of Trade sent out an email inviting members, of which I am one, to come to a free networking event at the BC Pavilion at the Vancouver Art Gallery. And while I originally said I wouldn’t attend, given that it was downtown and at night (working mom, not much for late-night partying), my husband talked me into it, reminding me that my part-time job is ending and I need to find more work now, which means I need to network.

So after biking home from Burnaby on Wednesday, I cleaned myself up and boarded a bus for downtown to see what all the fuss was about. The number of people milling about is staggering. I walked all around the Gallery, and it seemed like everyone was just walking around, not really doing anything, but with that many people, it sure seemed exciting.

In I went to the Gallery, and headed up to the fourth floor where the reception was. The displays were interesting and eye-catching, and the short 3D movie there is fun, but the touchscreen interactive art stuff was my favourite part of the Pavillion. Then I went to the bar part, and it was packed to the gills with networkers. Of course the giant screens were showing competitions, but people were moving about and sharing Olympic stories. It was kind of the same happy, no worries atmosphere I encountered on the bus to figure skating, but in a business context. I even traded some pins with a man who turned out to be the Mayor of Coquitlam!

It was getting late and I thought about leaving before things ended, but I was convinced to stick around to see “the show.” It seems that every Olympic night at 9:30 pm, there is a fireworks/laser light show in Robson Square, and the balcony of that bar overlooks Robson Square offering the best view possible. So I stayed, and it was phenomenal!

I can’t say I picked up any business leads, but I did reconnect with a few associates and friends, got access to a great venue without any lineups, and got to experience networking, Olympics style.


Time to hit the hustings again and find more work

February 9, 2010

I’ve been pretty lucky work-wise through this recession. Not only did I have some regular clients that kept coming back with projects for me, but I also had a few very good referrals for new clients. But best of all, I’ve had a part time job to anchor it all down. Unfortunately, my luck has run out.

My part-time job is coming to a close at the end of February. To be fair, it’s not a job, it’s a contract, but one where I act as the Director of Communications for an association, and only have to be in their offices two days a week. The rest of the week I’m available to them and monitor their stuff, but am able to work from home and service other clients. It’s been a lovely spot to ride out the recession. But I knew from the start that it was only short-term.

They brought me in because they couldn’t find anyone to hire full-time. They were looking for someone with 5-7 years experience — an “intermediate,” as they say in the PR profession — but I convinced them that as a senior consultant, I could do the job half time. And I did. But the two men who run this association are very old school. They really want to have someone down the hall they can shout to when they need something done. Things worked well enough with me in the role, but it just didn’t suit their style. And I guess now they figure the economy has changed enough that they can find someone for the full-time gig now. Besides, I didn’t always agree with the association’s politics, so I would challenge them a lot. In many ways, it was good for both us to walk that fine line all the time, but now that they believe they have more options, they really want someone whose ideology is more in line with theirs.

So as of March, I’m back to working from the home office five days a week. I’ll really miss the office environment, and will miss the people too. I’ll really miss the bike commute. It’s been a great excuse to step up my biking, and get my exercise in on the way to and from work. I’m leaving the “job” on very good terms, and have a month’s notice to wrap things up.

Still, it will definitely leave a hole in my schedule and therefore my income, a hole I need to fill pretty fast. Not that I ever stopped networking during the year and a half that i was in this job, but now I really need to step up my meeting and greeting. And looking for work is probably the very worst thing about being self-employed. I love doing the work I’m paid to do, but I don’t love having to look for it.

Feel free to spread the word — as of March 1 I’m available for projects, contracts, and even another part-time job.