Looking to get your career going, but don’t know where to start? There’s a ton of information out there. Some of it’s good, and some of it… not so much. Since I decided to change my career, I’ve hit just about every roadblock out there.
Now that I know they’re there, there’s no reason that you should have to run into the same problems. First of all, make sure that you are qualified. If not, go back to school and get credentials you need. But the idea of going back to school was terrifying at first.
Many people have plenty of opportunities, free schools, yet they never got their HS or GED diploma. I know something about it, I was there myself. First, you try every resource that offers free prep. But these paid classes are expensive especially if you have no job so you end up looking for excuses. Fortunately, with internet on your phone, you can easily find free online courses to get all set for tests like the CLEP (College Level Examination Program) or the GED (General Education Development) Test.
But back to what were talking about, and it’s right. I hate social intervention. I break out into cold sweats just thinking about all of those people, and all of those possible interactions.
I fell into the most dangerous trap. I spent too much time alone and practically forgot how to interact with people. But, before I could fix it, I had to get down to the root of the problem. So, I started dissecting all of the excuses I made for not interacting.
“I’M TOO BUSY.”
I would say while reading some list-based humor article at a website that shall remain nameless.
The truth was, I was almost never too busy to spend fifteen seconds replying to a message. I just didn’t feel like it. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
First, we have to get me past this first excuse. Since I claimed to be too busy during “work time,” I took a block of that work time and set it aside for learning.
Preparing for the test has become part of my work schedule, and so now I can’t say that I’m too busy.
“NOBODY CARES ABOUT WHAT I HAVE TO SAY.”
Well, that’s obviously a lie, and thank you for being here to prove it.
We socially awkwards (sawks?) have a problem with believing that we don’t have anything new to add to the conversation. We think that our opinions aren’t as valid as other peoples’ in the group.
I know this because I labored under that same delusion. I used to scroll through posts and think “Oh, I should say this! But, that’s an obvious thing to say and they’ll probably just think I’m dumb.”
Luckily, I’m not dumb. And it turns out that I do have something to add to the conversation. People actually want to hear what I have to say.
I’m still getting used to that, but it’s a good feeling. You should try it sometime.
“SOMEONE ALREADY SAID WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY.”
Okay, this one’s a little bit trickier, because it’s somewhat true. Just repeating what everyone else had to say isn’t really a great way to interact. In fact, it’s a good way to get yourself ignored.
I fixed this one in two steps. First, I started looking through my LinkedIn groups for discussions that hadn’t sparked a lot of conversation. If I had any input whatsoever, I put it in. Since there was so little discussion, chances were that no one had offered that particular bit of wisdom.
Then, I branched out into other discussions. If I found one that I wanted to participate in, but someone had already stolen my thunder, I did something revolutionary: I stopped and put some thought into my comment. I made sure that I had something fresh to add to the discussion.
Then I said it.
And the more I practiced coming up with original things to say, the easier it got. And the more people wanted to listen to me.
“I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.”
Translation: I’m scared.
There are only two things I’m afraid of in this world: awkward social interaction, and squid. Both of those are technically fixable, but my anti-squid protests have met with surprising apathy.
What I didn’t realize when I started withdrawing to write is that social interaction is a skill. Worse, it’s one of those use-it-or-lose-it skills.
I allowed my social skills to languish, and that made it harder to connect with anyone. And that made it hard to find clients.
Getting back into the game is scary. It still makes my knees knock. But I can’t have a successful career without interaction, and neither can you.
Being a freelance writer takes a lot of networking, both with other writers and clients. It’s a skill that we all need to build and practice constantly. Without it, our careers will never be as good as we want them to be.
Do you have problems interacting with people? Start fixing it by leaving a comment below.
Then, when you’ve done that, share this post to kickstart your dive back into networking.