“Serendipity” is my new favorite word. I find myself saying it all the time. I ran across this word in a recent Atlantic article about how isolation during the pandemic has weighed heavily on people. One of the points the author makes is that by limiting social interaction we lose the serendipity of unplanned meetings, water cooler conversations, and just the small joy-filled moments of meeting someone with whom you have common interests.
Now that people are back out socializing and networking, I’ve already identified a few moments of such serendipity. For instance, I caught up with some old friends who mentioned conversations that we had years ago. It meant a lot to me that advice I had given years ago had resonated with someone so much that they could recall that advice years later.
But also, I have bumped into new opportunities because I have had an unplanned opportunity to meet with old contacts. As we talked about things that we’re working on, a few of people have told me that they want to hire me as their attorney.
In each of these instances these were people that I knew. These are people who knew that I was an attorney. But I was not front-of-mind until I was literally standing in front of them. And these are not the type of conversations that one would have during a scheduled 30-minute Zoom meeting.
For young professionals who are just entering the workplace and maybe have not built their network before the pandemic, I strongly urge you to discover the joy and benefits of networking and mixing business with social engagement.
People want to work with other people that they like, trust, and know in a comfortable social setting. Those types of relationships are not likely to come from cold-calling and scheduling Zoom meetings.
In-person social engagement, by contrast, allows people to show off their personality and engage in conversations that show their ability to engage in spontaneous critical thinking.
Whether you have been in business for two years or twenty, now’s a good time to renew your social engagement and enjoy the serendipitous, joyful meetings of expanding your social and professional network.
Doug McCullough, Texas Young Professionals Founder; McCullough Sudan, PLLC Partner