The stages of Internet job search grief are as follows:
Week 1: Lots of jobs!
Week 2: Hey, these are the same jobs as last week.
Week 3: Is Gmail broken? (it’s not).
Week 4: That’ll be $4.92. Please pull around.
Looking for a job on the Internet is a little like bringing your glove to Yankee Stadium in the hopes of catching a home run. Commendable but futile. Oh, you’ll catch something (a battery, an empty beer can, seasonal allergies), but it won’t be what you wanted. This is especially true in Charleston, a city whose paltry listings are scoured by ravenous, maniacal jobseekers all over the country. The key to living and working here is meeting people, and one of the best ways to do that is at happy hour. Here are the top 7 excuses that keep people out of the action:
1. "I don’t drink." Who cares? Unless you are some kind of human epiphyte and in fact do not consume any liquids at all, you should be fine. Order whatever you want and if you’re worried about blending in, get a club soda with a straw.
2. "I’m broke." That sucks. But the best way to get un-broke is to get a job and the best way to do that is by meeting people. Turn over the couch cushions, scrape together a few dollars and plan to sip PBR until your luck turns. You’ll look back on the cheap beer bloat as a rite of passage.
3. "I just moved here." Perfect, now is the time to circulate. Charleston is a small town and to be honest, we’re a little bored with each other. You can dazzle us with news from the outside world. You are very interesting (for the moment) so make the most of it.
4. "I don’t know anyone." That’s a shame. Fortunately, there are any number of organizations in town that force people to get to know each other – Charleston AMA, AFP, Charleston Young Professionals, Plumbers and Pipefitters Association, etc. Join one.
5. "I’m an introvert." That’s OK. Steer clear of the huge crowds and be strategic with your happy hour-ing. Contact interesting people directly and ask to meet them to learn more about what they do and ask their advice. See if they will connect you with other helpful people. Keep it simple and small. Pop a Xanax. Whatever it takes.
6. "I don’t know where to go." Start exploring and you’ll figure it out. The landscape shifts as various tribes (college, old people, tourists, etc.) discover new spots and abandon old ones. At the moment, the Rarebit, Belmont, Cocktail Club and Proof are all solid happy hour networking choices. But who knows? In a month any one of them may be overrun with sweaty frat boys from Ohio.
7. "I’m uncomfortable promoting myself." Excellent. That wouldn’t work very well anyways. Being authentically interested in something and excited to talk about it is far more effective than wandering around handing out business cards. Think less about self-promotion and more about lively conversation.
Disagree? See it differently? Drop me a line and let’s discuss. Over drinks.
Cover photo credit: Charleston Magazine Club