Recently I was in an ale house – fairly typical for an Irishman you might say – and I’m hanging out with my new best friend Alan. He’s my new best friend because he’s just bought me a pint of Guinness. Alan’s one of the lads that has previously come on a trip to Ireland with me. He’s a gifted amateur photographer and is a professional stonebreaker – a geologist. So there we all are in the pub having a grand old time of it, having the craic, as we say at home. Alan and I are regaling the lads with tales of what the trip to Ireland was like and the lads are intrigued and amused by our stories and jokes. We’re having great craic, as we’d say back on Paddy’s green shamrock shores. Next thing, don’t you know, my phone rings and it’s She Who Must Be Obeyed wondering where I am. Alan is standing next to me and all he hears is the following. “Eh, I’m out…….. Yeh, should be home soon……………. What am I doing?”. And before I could answer, Alan has figured out by now that tis Herself on the phone, so he leans over and into my ear, he whispers, “Tell her your networking”. So I says to her, I says, “I’m networking”. At which points she says “Well, just try not to be yourself. Oh, and don’t network and drive”, and she hangs up.
Networking? Is that what hanging out in the pub with the lads is? I had no idea. As you may know I was a teacher practically all my life, but I quit recently to start my own business, so I’m new, or at least, I thought I was new, to the whole concept of networking. I must say I really love it, this networking thing. I had no idea you guys in the business world were having so much fun. In fact, now that I think of it, I’ve been networking for the past 30 years and I didn’t even know it. I reckon I’m a black belt at this networking lark by now.
I guess I am lucky in the line of business I’m in because I get to network with people for the purpose of selling vacations. It’s like selling happiness. And I know that someone out there has to be in the business of selling toilet paper, and things like pencil sharpeners and potato peelers, all of which are very useful items. I’m just glad that it’s not me who’s selling them. Oh, here we go, bring on the Catholic guilt trip. What? Why can’t I be glad that I’m selling vacations to Ireland, Scotland, and France instead of selling everyday household objects? It’s not like I pity the people that do, is it? Well, maybe that’s just it. Do you? Do you pity the people who don’t sell “sexy stuff”? I don’t know. And I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Dude, some of those people selling furry steering wheel covers or doggy-toys, some of them are millionaires driving around in Ferraris while you’re still going about in your 10-year-old Toyota Highlander. Well, more power to them if they are. But what about their dignity? What about their sense of pride and passion in what they do for a living? This ain’t no dress rehearsal, this is it. You get one shot at life. You will only pass this way just once. How are you going to spend your time?
Brian O’ Nuanain runs “Across The Pond And Beyond”, a company that organizes international vacations. You can reach him at acrossthepondandbeyond.com