The Main Problem With Networking While Black. : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


The Main Problem With Networking While Black.

June 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Education, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) The mentor-protégé relationship is one of the most important ones when it comes to business and art. While you will have influences in your vision, a mentor will help shape you in a way that you can meet your vision and your goals. Hell, often times they are or can become the influence.

Of course, the relationship isn’t without faults. The biggest one is getting into that beneficial relationship to start. Sometimes there are workshops that can help form it, other times it’s who you know. That’s the kicker: who you know. Linking up. Networking.

Networking Is Important, Duh

When you network, you open the doors to a number resources. There are people with a wealth of experience, talents, infrastructure, and so on already there. Not only that, those people know people. That’s the crux of networking. It’s a web of people who can help with projects, sign aboard your project, find you a specialist, or give advice.

Some industries are well-built for networking while others just leave you with a bunch of associates in an industry with little chance of career progression. In the case of the later, it’s really like “What’s the point?” I mean, you never know if down the line that person will become useful and worth investing the time. However, in the immediate, it looks like “Pass on that, I’ll just plug away at this work.”

The Main Problem with Networking While Black

Black arts and business is vast. Just like networking in general, there are a lot of people with fingers in different pots. A ton of experience is out there and many different approaches and ideologies to your work and making money. You might not jive with people’s approaches but you can respect their talents. You might not put much stock in their talent but respect their hustle.

There are definitely those of us out there open to help but the ones who aren’t with it hit differently. A few bad run-ins with these folks can turn someone’s views on networking with our brothers and sisters sour. The funny thing is, they tend to be deeply entrenched in networking but just won’t give you or someone else a hand.

They wills have their own connects and when you ask for tips or pointers, you get “Trial and error” or “I just talked to people.” One their own, both are good advice. Hell, it’s great advice if you’re starting out and don’t know anyone. A lot of businesses, services, books, and series got off the ground by trial and error and just reaching out.

The thing to note here is that, when talking to someone who has established their own connects and have their place in a network, those pieces of advice don’t really help. At all. They’re telling you what you already know. You will stumble but keep going and learn from that and talk to others to establish yourself in a network. Sometimes you just need an in with someone else.

On the flip side, I can see why they would play their cards close to them. Maybe that person’s potential is an unknown to them and it would be a waste of time to them to share what they’ve accumulated. Also, they might not want to vouch for that person and have that person either not put in the work, go through asking the same thing, act a certain way that doesn’t reflect favorably on them, or—again—not have the potential.

Then you just have the “I did it on my own so why should I help them” folks. Honestly, they’re the hardest to deal with since they might end up coming to you needing something for their own project or whatever. It’s an odd place to be in.

Some problems lack solutions. In the case of networking while Black, the best you can do is not be that person who only thinks about “What they can do for me.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting to benefit from networking, that’s a major reason to do it anyway, but sometimes just extending a hand and expecting nothing in return goes a long way.

And hey, if you need a benefit to doing it, reputation is big in networking. Having money, talent and influence makes you a great resource but having a reputation people can respect can accumulate into influence as well.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


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