Archive of ‘Life Without A Manual’ category

Nice Networking

A friend recently told me I am a champion at networking. I’m not sure about the champion part. I have no awards to show for it, but I’ve always felt comfortable in a room with new people. I consider it a fun challenge to find ways to connect with them. I’m sure this is why my career has been full of opportunities where I am the driver of the welcome wagon, the greeter at events, and the cruise director in the building.

I admit that I attend networking events with a game plan. I practice what I like to call, nice networking. First, I approach the people who are standing by themselves and aren’t sure who to talk to. I choose them because I know some people find a room full of strangers overwhelming. I see myself as the person to make it less so.

I introduce myself and ask, “So, how did you hear about this event?” I suppose this line is the business world’s version of “Do you come here often?” But it works every time. From there, one of two things happens: either the person engages in a conversation with me, thankful to have someone to talk to, or they are waiting for someone else. Either way, we exchange names and business cards, and I consider it a successful interaction.

Next, I find people I’ve seen at previous events. Usually, there are at least one or two because many of us are members of the same group. While catching up, someone new to me will join us, share their story, and offer a business card. This is the networking trifecta that I strive for with each interaction.

Nice networking puts good karma into the room. To me, it means to always be friendly and approachable first. Yes, I also want people to also walk away knowing I am knowledgeable about my field and willing to be a resource for them in the future. But kindness is always first. I come to these events with a smile on my face and a positive attitude. I ask people questions about themselves, their line of work, and how I can help. I want them to know that I am genuinely interested in connecting with them because I am. And, if they know the steps to the networking cha-cha, they will ask me the same questions. If not, I’ll offer up the answers anyway. 🙂 Networking, like many dance moves, is supposed to be done with a partner. If done right, it’s not a solo activity.

How do you approach networking events? Do you have a game plan or just wing it?



Sunday Thoughts

In the spirit of Facebook’s existential question, “What’s On Your Mind?” this post will answer that question.

Jenna’s Birthday

Today is my daughter’s 23rd birthday. Last night, my husband and I reminisced about the early years when Jenna barely napped. It all makes sense now. She never wanted to miss a thing. She still doesn’t. She is also a night owl, which explains why she used to keep us up until all hours of the night. Now that she is on her own, she can stay up as late as she wants.

As she grew older and learned more about the world around her, she asked me questions about issues on the news. She wanted to know why women don’t always get paid the same as men, why same-sex couples couldn’t marry, and why racial profiling was a thing. We talked about the pros and cons of presidential candidates way before she was old enough to vote. The more answers I gave her, the more questions she raised. In some respects, explaining the birds and the bees to her was easier than the different political opinions regarding gun control.

I still think this kid will make a hell of a lawyer or politician someday—if she so chooses. Whatever she decides to do, she has the mind of a social justice warrior and a caring heart, which is a part of her that will never be diminished.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yesterday, we remembered the six million people who died in the Holocaust, along with millions of others from minority communities. We always say “Never Again,” but we know the rumblings of antisemitism are happening again. On college campuses. In the United Nations. On the main streets of major cities and small towns. In my community. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitism is up 388% since Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th of last year, when they killed 1200 innocent people in one day and kidnapped 200+, many of whom are still being held hostage.

This day reminds me that choosing to wear my Jewish star necklace in public, attend synagogue, celebrate holidays, and participate in my congregation’s activities is a blessing and a powerful choice that I don’t take for granted. I pray for all of those who have been affected by this terrible time in our history. But I support Israel and her right to defend herself. They had to have known we would fight back when they came for us.

We didn’t start the fire, but we will survive it.

Reading and Writing

Closer to home, three and a half days are left in January. I’ve written 25 blog posts so far this month. Not sure I’ll have the time to catch up on the days I missed, but I will try. And more importantly, I’ll keep blogging and see if I can keep it up in February. Thanks for reading and sharing. Stay tuned for my end of January 2024 Book Report. I’m almost done with one book and hope to squeeze in another before the end of the month.




Leaving My Comfort Zone

Someone standing inside a circle labeled comfort zone

During my last job search, I was up for a director of communications position at an exclusive private girls’ school on the Main Line. For those who don’t know, The Main Line is a section of the Philadelphia suburbs right outside of the city. It is home to some of the wealthiest communities in the country.

I had several interviews with the administrators, and in the final round, I learned I was one of two people being considered. In the end, I lost.

But I also won. A few weeks later, the school was under fire for systemic racism on campus. As the communications director, I would have quickly found myself in the middle of a publicity crisis. So, I dodged a bullet and decided that not getting the job was meant to be.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve received a few rejection emails from different organizations. Instead of getting upset, I’ve decided that the outcome was meant to be. While I’m not a big believer in what people say is “G-d’s plan,” I do feel like I’m being pulled in a different direction. I have been sitting on my ideas and dreams for a long time and have decided that now is the time to make those things happen. I’m not ready to share anything just yet, but things are in the works. For the first time, I’m listening to my heart and gut and know that I will land on my feet.

In the meantime, the flexible schedule is nice, and I’m also working toward several professional certificates. I’m still applying for jobs while keeping up with social media trends and nonprofit marketing strategies. Even though I’m not working full-time, I’m investing in ways to improve myself so that I am prepared when called upon to share my expertise.

Meanwhile, I am focused on one of my quote cards that reads, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” If that is the case, here I am. I’m at the border, ready to step out. I’m excited to be here. I’m leaving my safe space to meet new people and learn what life still has to offer. I’ve already met some folks who have welcomed me into the fold. I know there are more who want to share their dreams with me and see how we can support one another. I can’t wait to meet them.

It’s a little stressful. The term “comfort zone” was coined by a businessman who believed that to achieve high performance, one has to experience a certain amount of stress. Well, over the last six months, that box has certainly been checked off multiple times. But then, I think about how it will look when I’m successful again on my terms.

I’m looking forward to it.

Have you ever been at the end of your comfort zone? Were you excited? Nervous? What was it like for you there?



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