Shyness Will Get You No Where

There's this young female afroed intern I see around here quite a bit (She stands out because I was once a young female afroed intern and honestly, there aren't that many other black people around so it's hard to miss her. ) Anyway, I don't know her name. What she's doing here. Where she's from. What school she goes to. Nothing.

And it kind of bothers me.

It must be me. Maybe it's my ego.

She's never said hey, waved or even smiled at me. She's even been alone next to the microwave with me before. And silence.

Am I terrifying? It must be me. 

I've thought about making the first move. But no... (again, maybe it's my ego) She should be the go-getter here.

Maybe she's shy. I donno. But this is your career, hun. There's no time to be shy or reserved or unassuming. This is a critical time and you need to be making critical connections. 

She should be the one making eye contact, saying hello, sending emails, asking to go to coffee. And in return, I'd return her smiles, say hello back, respond to her emails, pay for her coffee, give her advice, introduce her to people and help her in any way I can.

Sooo many people did that for me. So I think nothing of doing it for someone else (time permitting). Especially if they look like a younger version of me.

When I was an intern, I was in everybody's face - saying hi, sending emails, asking questions and being friendly. Also, I just smile all the time. (It's a hobby of mine.)

I am still reaching out to people above me - and beneath me to make connections. You want as many people as possible on your side. You want people to be able to remember you, to recommend you for jobs, to put you on project and to speak for you when you're not around.

A lady I met when I was interning in 04 wrote an entry to the Rising Star Tumblr. She wasn't a creative. And I've not seen her since that summer, maybe have spoken to her twice via email, and she not only remembered me, but felt compelled to share something about me.

That floored me.

That's testament to the power of smiling, networking and talking to people - no matter who they are and what they do.

The moral of the story is: Don't be shy. Talk to everyone. Be seen, heard and connected. 

Remember, there are less than Six Degrees of Separation in Advertising and you want to be nice to everybody, because you never know where you or they may end up, who they know or what they will say about you when you're not around.

p.s. Thanks to all the amazing people who smiled back, emailed me back, bought me tea or lunch and inspired, supported and guided me. I'm still trying to pay it all forward.