Friday, October 26, 2007

The Red Light District of Business Cards

Okay, so last post I wrote how difficult it is to get "face time" around here in DC. So this past week I figured I would be pro-active and head into the lion's den. I signed up to attend a conference downtown which focused on counterterrorism and civilian protection. I'm really interested in these topics and the panelists listed were really impressive, so I figured I would check it out. Plus, there would be some interesting people attending who I could meet and talk to about their careers and job paths. So I brought some resumes. Why not, right?

Long story short - the conference was fantastic, the panelists were really interesting, and the food was great, too. So all around, a nice two days. I even got a chance to talk to some of the other attendees about their jobs and who they work for. Perfect.

So call me naive, but I was in awe at the entire "business card" protocol. I'm sure it is standard procedure, but I was amazed at how quickly into conversation the business cards come out of the coat pockets and are exchanged. "Hi, I'm..." BAM! Before you hear their name, you get their card.

Don't get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, particulary coming from my perspective where A) I tend to forget someone's name 2 seconds after they tell me and B) I'll take whatever connections I can get at this point. But the process was almost too easy. Too fast. Too nonchalant. Reminded me of the Tupac song (yes, Tupac) "I Get Around":

"Hate to sound sleazy, but tease me, I don't want it if it's that easy..."

Tupac was obviously rapping about something else, but the point is the same. Little did I know that I had entered the red light district of business cards. And I don't want business card STDs (which I assume would resemble paper cuts more than the clap). Sure, I'd love to network. But if everyone gets a card, no one gets a card... Lata suckas.

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