It's Wednesday lunchtime. The HR team are at the end of the canteen table discussing Janet's birthday party, as Tim and Nick from sales make plans for this Saturday's home game against Burton Albion beforehand. Chris from marketing looks lost in thought, but she's already clicked "attending" on Facebook and isn't really in the mood for chit chat.
You sit there quietly, staring into the warm tuna sweetcorn sandwich you prepared this morning, longing for the invite to be extended your way. But, you're in IT and you're famously not invited to parties.
Every day across the UK, IT managers are excluded from social events, leaving them only to feel wanted when they're needed to reset a router or fix the paper jam in Payroll's photocopier for the third time this week. But not anymore, with this survival guide you can transform your networking skills into, umm... networking skills and get yourself invited to those social events you long to be a part of.
- Minimise the work talk - It's only natural to talk about where you spend a fair chunk of your time, but unfortunately what we do often falls on deaf ears, i.e our profession isn't the most interesting pursuit to a lot of people. Reduce the details when asked about what you do; not everyone cares for the intricacies of bandwidth allocation, unfortunately.
- Get closer to outgoing people - There are always groups of colleagues who meet regularly outside of working hours. Get friendly with these people at the lunch table and ask if you can join them after work, there's no harm in trying.
- Be the party leader - organise your own events or meetups and extend invites outwards, not everyone will be able to make it but often people will come - even if they're just in need of something to do, giving you an excellent opportunity to make new friends. If you're brave enough, make the event public on Facebook and watch as your party dissolves into Project X level craziness. We don't recommend this, but you will become a legend.
- Provide food and alcohol - if you're throwing an event this is sure to attract people, not much else really needs to be said about this.
- Look outside of work - if you have any particular hobbies and interests, you don't have to look too far to find like-minded people - most major cities have conventions, meetups and networking events for almost every interest. If you're embarrassed to admit you have an extensive “Magic the Gathering” collection to your colleagues, attend meetups and conventions to make friends who won't judge you.
- Be happy with yourself - ultimately, be happy with yourself and your interests, and be confident in who you are. Look after your own wellbeing and you'll find you'll be less shy around new people. Or failing that, fake it til you make it - either approach works.
We hope this guide will help you on your journey towards being king or queen of the party, and if you're looking for people who really speak your language, we are expert IT geeks with a rich history of delivering digital transformation across a variety of industries, across the UK.
Think you're an IT whizzkid? Take our quiz "Fired, hired or happily retired" to see if you're going to retire happily in the knowledge that you've brought positive transformational change to your company, or if you're expecting a P45 next week.
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