Outwork, Outwrite, and Outrank Your Competition

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June 5, 2024

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UK, Manchester

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Outwork, Outwrite, and Outrank Your Competition

Networking with Older Men: A Delicate Dance

As a young professional woman, I’ve had my fair share of interesting encounters when it comes to networking with older men in my field. Let me tell you, it’s a delicate dance that requires equal parts charm, assertiveness, and a dash of ninja-like reflexes.

I’ll never forget the time I was on a flight, minding my own business, when an older businessman struck up a conversation with me. “So, what do you do for a living?” he asked, with a twinkle in his eye that immediately set off my “creep-dar.” I figured, hey, maybe this could be a valuable networking opportunity, so I politely shared a bit about my work. Big mistake.

Before I knew it, the texts started rolling in. Late-night messages that were decidedly not about the weather or the latest industry trends. Yikes. This guy clearly had a different kind of “networking” in mind, and I wanted no part of it. As Alison at Ask a Manager aptly put it, “late night text messages (or flirty emails) = interest in fling, not business contact.”

Navigating the Minefield

But that’s not the only time I’ve had to tread carefully when it comes to networking with older male colleagues. There was the time a senior partner at a law firm invited me to “grab drinks” after a conference, and I knew something was up. Or the countless occasions where I’ve sensed a distinct shift in the dynamic once a male mentor learned I was single. It’s enough to make a girl want to swear off networking altogether!

However, I’ve also had the privilege of developing truly meaningful, platonic relationships with older male mentors. The key is finding the right balance – being warm and personable, without veering into territory that could be misconstrued. As the Corporette blog advises, it’s all about cultivating a “father-daughter” type of dynamic, where mutual respect and professionalism take center stage.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Of course, even the most well-intentioned networking efforts can go awry if you’re not mindful of the signals you’re sending. I’ve learned the hard way that a firm handshake and direct eye contact can sometimes be mistaken for flirtation. And don’t even get me started on the dreaded “dead fish” handshake – that’s a surefire way to make a terrible first impression, regardless of gender.

The key is to strike a balance – be confident and assertive, but not so aggressive that you come across as desperate or overeager. As one Corporette commenter noted, you want to be “hard-working, thorough, intuitive, and detail-oriented,” not “flirtatious, spontaneous, and fun.” Save the flirtation for your Tinder matches, folks.

Bouncing Back from Setbacks

Of course, even the most carefully orchestrated networking efforts can go up in flames. I remember one particularly disastrous incident where an older colleague blatantly hit on me during a “networking” lunch, and I was left feeling violated and ashamed. It’s easy to let setbacks like that deter you from putting yourself out there, but trust me, that’s the worst thing you can do.

As one Quora user shared, “I was mortified about running into him in the hallway for the next five years.” Been there, done that, and let me tell you – it’s not worth it. You can’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch. Dust yourself off, learn from the experience, and keep those networking wheels turning.

Embracing the Power of Connections

At the end of the day, networking with older men in your field is a necessary evil. Sure, it can be uncomfortable and fraught with potential landmines, but the rewards can be immense. As the Corporette blog points out, a “very successful older friend is never a bad thing to have — you never know who will hear about the next big career opportunity.”

So, how do you navigate this minefield? Be confident, be direct, and above all, be true to yourself. Shut down any inappropriate advances swiftly and without apology. But don’t be afraid to lean into the relationship, as long as it remains firmly in the realm of professionalism.

Who knows – that older, well-connected gentleman could be the key to unlocking your next big career move. And hey, if he tries to get handsy again, you can always threaten to report him to HR. Just kidding (kind of)!

In the end, the decision is yours. But if you play your cards right, you just might find that networking with older men can be the secret weapon that propels you to the top of your field. McR SEO is here to help you maximize your online presence and outshine the competition. Let’s get to work!

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