In nearly any career field, networking is highly important. Librarians constantly talk about getting know people--it just opens up that many more possibilities and opportunities. I had the opportunity to see a very tangible benefit of informal networking while in NY.
A friend of mine is currently in a Broadway show. I met said Actor in Chicago while we were both doing a show--he, on stage; I, ushing. Once it had been established that I was headed home for the weekend, he and I discussed tickets and the possibility of dinner thereafter. He advised that post show I could come backstage so I didn't have to wait outside in the questionable early spring weather. I would have 2 other gorgeous women with me, would that be okay? It would.
The day arrived and it was utterly torrential. Add to that a line to get into the theater that was over a block long and only two umbrellas between the three of us and we were quite damp by the time we got into the theater. Post show we were less damp, mostly. Wet wool coats that are being sat on in close quarters just don't dry in 2 hours, so I still felt somewhat like a wet sheep. (Baaaa)
I got directions to the stage door and headed outside to find it. Ahh, the one with the big burly man standing in front of it. There was a small barrier set up to allow the actors to come out and not be immediately assaulted by signature seekers. I sucked in a deep breath and (not realizing that the Blonde and other friend weren't directly behind me) walked right up to the security man.
"Hi, I'm here to see Actor" (Praying that he remembered to put me on the list...)
"Are you on the list?"
"I'm supposed to be."
He consults with another large burly man who is in the theater, this one with a list. "I'm Hedgie, here to see Actor."
"You have two people with you?"
"Yes!" (Frantically gesturing to friends)
Second Large Security Man put us just off stage right with clear instructions to stay put until Actor appeared, which he did relatively promptly. Then we got to sweep back out the stage door and off to dinner.
It was a neat opportunity, standing out just a little from the rest of those waiting by virtue of knowing someone and knowing just a little bit more. It's also kind of heady.
Trying to figure out how soon I can do it again.